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Vandetanib Demonstrates Effectiveness against Advanced Thyroid Cancer

The recently concluded European Society for Medical Oncology Congress hosted a presentation to highlight the drug’s ability to induce tumor shrinkage that persisted throughout multiple treatment lines. Vandetanib (Caprelsa) is a kinase inhibitor designed to treat “symptomatic or progressive medullary thyroid cancer in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic disease”. Initially developed by AstraZeneca, [...]

The recently concluded European Society for Medical Oncology Congress hosted a presentation to highlight the drug’s ability to induce tumor shrinkage that persisted throughout multiple treatment lines.

Vandetanib (Caprelsa) is a kinase inhibitor designed to treat “symptomatic or progressive medullary thyroid cancer in patients with unresectable locally advanced or metastatic disease”. Initially developed by AstraZeneca, the treatment revolves around blocking several vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFR) and has been approved for use by the FDA.

A team of oncologists from the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona, led by Jorge Hernando Cubero, MD, have been conducting clinical trials with 59 patients. Initial dosage was 300mg daily, though some adjustments were allowed due to toxicity.

Overall results showed response rates of 47% in the first-line setting, 53% in the second-line setting and 40% in the third-line setting. The team also noted a median progression-free survival (PFS) of 16.8 months in the first-line setting, 13.6 months in the second-line setting and 11.5 months in the third-line setting. No correlation was observed between response and calcitonin (a hormone that reduces blood calcium) or carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA).

The press release mentions that the “probability of tumor shrinkage with vandetanib is maintained throughout treatment lines despite of a trend of reduced benefit in PFS beyond first-line in a cohort of pts with a worse prognosis. CEA reduction may predict longer PFS. Safety is maintained regardless of prognosis and prior therapies.”

In general, Vandetanib was well tolerated, though is known to produce some adverse effects, including colds, decreased appetite, insomnia, rashes or pain.

The United States has approximately 54.000 new cases of thyroid cancer each year. It typically affects young adults. Women are more exposed to develop the disease, making up about 3 out of 4 diagnoses.

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