London: Mayo Clinic researchers are studying the effects of the drug pazopanib that may help revolutionize the care of patients with metastatic, rapidly progressive differentiated thyroid cancer.
Out of 37 patients with the most aggressive thyroid cancer, 18 patients had a long-lasting response to pazopanib and 12 are still alive without disease progression.
As per the researchers, this study indicates the highest response rate yet reported in such aggressive cases of differentiated thyroid cancer.
They caution however, that this drug is not meant to be used in slow growing differentiated thyroid cancers and that they cannot assess the survival advantage pazopanib offers to the patients studied, reports Lancet.
The drug dose used in 16 patients had to be lowered because side effects were judged by oncologists to become potentially threatening or debilitating, and two patients experienced significant bleeding.
Further, although two patients died in association with pre-existing disease while enrolled in the study, the agent could have contributed in some way, said Keith Bible.
Bible added that larger phase III clinical trial for patients with aggressive differentiated thyroid cancer patients is underway.
The study appears in The Lancet Oncology.