In patients with advanced thyroid cancer, sunitinib, a drug approved for the treatment of several other cancers, has shown significant cancer-fighting activity in a new phase 2 clinical trial. Results of the single-center study were presented Sunday, March 8, 2015, at the Endocrine Society's 97th annual meeting in San Diego. "Sunitinib can potentially be used as an effective adjunctive treatment in patients with advanced differentiated thyroid cancer," said Principal Investigator Kenneth Burman, M.D., Chief of Endocrine at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C. Differentiated thyroid cancer is the most common type of cancer of the thyroid, a gland in the neck. For patients with this type of cancer, surgery and treatment with radioactive iodine to destroy the cancer cells are very effective, but in some patients, the tumor will continue to progress. Dr. Burman and his colleagues tested the treatment effect of sunitinib in 23 patients with advanced-stage differentiated thyroid cancer who had undergone at least one course of radioactive iodine treatment. Primarily, they measured progression-free survival, the length of time that the tumor did not progress. They also measured the response of tumor growth to sunitinib using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST). Patients received a starting daily dose (37.5 milligrams) of oral Sunitinib. The median progression-free survival was 241 days, or about eight months, the researchers reported. Because this was a Phase 2 clinical trial, there was no control group. The investigators compared their results against those of the control group from a recently published study in patients with the same type of cancer who received a placebo, or "dummy" pill. Compared with these controls, Dr.
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