In patients with advanced thyroid cancer, radioactive iodine therapy can be very effective. However, there are some patients who fail to respond to this and the alternative options are limited.
A recently reported trial of the new and orally active (i.e tablet therapy) drug axitinib (a small molecular weight tyrosine kinase inhibitor – targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor system, and developed by Pfizer pharmaceuticals) demonstrated a partial response in 18 of sixty trial patients (30% response rate) and a further 25 patients (42%) had disease stabilisation (i.e. no progression).
Axitinib is rapidly going forward into clinical trials.