Nav: Home

Targeted therapies show initial effectiveness in subset of papillary thyroid cancer

June 05, 2017

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two immunotherapy drugs currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of melanoma also show promise for treating a rare but aggressive form of papillary thyroid cancer.

Up to 44 percent of papillary thyroid cancer patients have a B-raf mutation that can be specifically targeted by existing cancer drugs.

The B-raf gene belongs to a class of genes known as "oncogenes," which send signals to normal cells that cause them become cancerous. B-raf gene mutations have known roles in the development of many human cancers including melanoma, lung and thyroid cancer.

In a randomized, phase 2 multi-center clinical study, led by Manisha Shah, MD of The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC - James), investigators tested the effectiveness of the targeted therapy drug, dabrafenib (pronounced "da bRAF e nib" and marketed as Tafinlar), given alone compared with the same drug given in combination with trametinib (pronounced "tra ME ti nib", marketed at MeKinist) to treat a subset of advanced papillary thyroid cancer patients with B-raf mutations.

Initial data shows that both dabrafenib alone and combined dabrafenib/trametinib therapy are well tolerated by patients, resulting in a 50 to 54 percent response rate among the patients advanced BRAF-mutated papillary thyroid cancer participating in the trial.

The OSUCCC - James team presented their findings (Abstract No. 6022) today at the American Association of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago.

"This is an entirely new approach to treating a disease that has limited treatment options. There is no clear 'winner' between single- and dual-agent targeted therapy yet but the good news is that both therapy approaches resulted in positive outcomes for patients, and that gives us more treatment options to help patients with this disease," says Shah, a medical oncologist and researcher with the OSUCCC - James Translational Therapeutics Research Program. "Targeted therapy has the potential to change the standard of care for patients affected by this rare but aggressive form of thyroid cancer."

Researchers will continue to follow patients on this trial to determine if dabrafenib alone or dabrafenib given in combination with trametinib is more effective long term.

Study Design and Methods

For this OSUCCC - James-designed and led study, oncologists recruited 53 patients with progressive B-raf-mutated progressive papillary thyroid cancer. Patient median age was 63 and all received treatment at Ohio State, Massachusetts General Hospital, MD Anderson, University of California - San Diego or University of Chicago. Patients were randomized to receive twice daily dabrafenib alone or dabrafenib given in combination with once-a-day trametinib. All drugs are administered orally. Patients who experienced disease progression on dabrafenib alone were able to cross over into the combination treatment arm.
-end-
Collaborators in this study include Lai Wei, PhD, Lori Wirth, MD, Gregory Daniels, MD, Jonas De Souza, MD, Cynthia Dawn Timmers, PhD, Jennifer Sexton, MPH, Mamdouh Beshara, Debra Nichols, Norka Snyder, Catherine Devine, MD, Bhavana Konda, MDand Naifia Lamki Busaidy, MD.

The study received funding support from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and Pelotonia, a grassroots cycling event based in Columbus, Ohio, that has raised more than $130 million for cancer research at the OSUCCC - James.

Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Related Thyroid Cancer Articles:

Inhibitor drug improves overall survival in older radioiodine resistant thyroid cancer
The drug lenvatinib can significantly improve overall survival rates in a group of thyroid cancer patients whose disease is resistant to standard radioiodine treatment, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Targeted therapies show initial effectiveness in subset of papillary thyroid cancer
Two immunotherapy drugs currently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of melanoma also show promise for treating a rare but aggressive form of papillary thyroid cancer, according to new research led by The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.
Complications from thyroid cancer surgery more common than believed, study finds
As thyroid cancer rates rise, more people are having surgery to remove all or part of their thyroid.
Screening for thyroid cancer not recommended
The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against screening for thyroid cancer in adults without any signs or symptoms.
Insurance expansion associated with increase in surgical treatment of thyroid cancer
The 2006 Massachusetts health reform, a model for the Affordable Care Act, was associated with significant increases in surgical intervention for thyroid cancer, specifically among nonwhite populations, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.
Exposure to common flame retardants may raise the risk of papillary thyroid cancer
Some flame retardants used in many home products appear to be associated with the most common type of thyroid cancer, papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), according to a new study being presented Saturday at the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting, ENDO 2017, in Orlando, Fla.
Recent thyroid cancer trends in the United States suggest age, racial disparities
In the United States, thyroid cancer incidence is rising among young people as well as Hispanics and African Americans, a new study reports.
Rarely studied gene USF3 plays role in predisposition to thyroid cancer
Charis Eng, M.D., Ph.D., of Cleveland Clinic and her team have discovered that a faulty, rarely studied gene called USF3 may predispose individuals to thyroid cancer.
Thyroid cancer patients opting for non-intervention report lack of support
Patients who choose not to intervene after a diagnosis of thyroid cancer face a challenging path -- one that is often defined by a sense of isolation and anxiety, according to a first-of-its-kind study by researchers from The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and the Veteran's Administration in White River Junction, Vermont.
Screening to blame for thyroid cancer 'epidemic' in South Korea
The current 'epidemic' of thyroid cancer in South Korea is due to an increase in the detection of small tumors, most likely as a result of overdetection by screening, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

Related Thyroid Cancer Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...