New drug promising for advanced thyroid cancer

A targeted drug called pazopanib could prove effective against difficult to treat cases of thyroid cancer cases, researchers say.SOURCES: Julian Molina, MD, Ph.D., Professor of Oncology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, Leonard Lichtenfeld, MD, Macpi, Deputy Chief of Medicine, the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, September 17, 2010, The Lancet Oncology in line

Most thyroid cancers can be treated with surgery or radioiodine, but about 5 % of patients develop an aggressive, life-threatening form of the disease.

One of the goals of cancer care is to make cancer a chronic disease, Molina said. If we can do something like cancer, where your pills to keep the disease under control, the objective good SA, he said.

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Pazopanib , already approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of advanced cancer of the kidney, acts by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels needed for tumor growth and survival.

Not only drug blocks the production of new blood vessels, it also interferes with the ability of cancer cells continue to grow, said Molina.

Twelve patients are still responding to the drug about a year later. Patients treated with the drug until the drug is more effective, Molina said, noting these patients still take pazopanib every day.

There are many treatment options available for people with advanced thyroid cancer, said Dr. Leonard Lichtenfeld, deputy chief of medicine at the American Cancer Society.

For this phase 2 study, published in the Sept. 17 online edition of The Lancet Oncology, Molina and colleagues tested the efficacy and safety of pazopanib in 37 patients with advanced, rapidly progressing cancer of the thyroid.

Targeted therapies are providing some effective treatment options for patients with diseases that have been traditionally difficult to treat, he said. I find it very useful and exciting.

For more information about thyroid cancer, visit the American Cancer Society.

While the results of the study should be replicated and tested against other treatment options before pazopanib can be approved as a treatment for thyroid cancer, agreed that the drug promising.