Emerging therapeutics for advanced thyroid malignancies: Rationale and targeted approaches

Pamela Jo Harris, Keith C. Bible

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Thyroid cancer is an emerging public health concern. In the USA, its incidence has doubled in the past decade, making it the eighth most commonly diagnosed neoplasm in 2010. Despite this alarming increase, most thyroid cancer patients benefit from conventional approaches (surgery, radioiodine, radiotherapy, TSH suppression with levothyroxine) and are often cured. Nevertheless, a minority have aggressive tumors resistant to cytotoxic and other historical therapies; these patients sorely need new treatment options. Areas covered: Herein the biology and molecular characteristics of the common histological types of thyroid cancer are reviewed to provide context for subsequent discussion of recent developments and emerging therapeutics for advanced thyroid cancers. Expert opinion: Several kinase inhibitors, especially those targeting VEGFR and/or RET, have already demonstrated promising activity in differentiated and medullary thyroid cancers (DTC, MTC). Although of minimal benefit in DTC and MTC, cytotoxic chemotherapy with anti-microtubule agents and/or anthracyclines in combination with intensity-modulated radiation therapy appears to extend survival for patients with locoregionally confined anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC), but to have only modest benefit in metastatic ATC. Further discovery and development of novel agents and combinations of agents will be critical to further progress in treating advanced thyroid cancers of all histotypes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1357-1375
Number of pages19
JournalExpert Opinion on Investigational Drugs
Volume20
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Differentiated thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer
  • Taxanes
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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