Oral Lenvatinib has demonstrated its efficacy in delaying the progression of advanced thyroid cancer by upto 18 months as compared to just 4 months when patients were treated with a placebo, the findings of a new study have revealed. These findings have been published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The researchers took in 392 patients from 21 countries for the study- all of them having thyroid cancer that had become resistant to radioactive iodine treatment. Of these, 261 patients were treated with Lenvatinib, while the remaining received a placebo.
The researchers found that the patients who received Lenvatinib showed approximately five fold improvement in their condition. Around two-thirds of the patients who were given this drug responded either fully or partially to this drug.
“In our study, we not only saw a dramatic improvement in progression-free survival, there was also a 65 percent response rate — almost unprecedented results for thyroid cancer patients with such advanced disease,” Steven Sherman said in a center news release. However, there was no improvement in the overall survival rates, the researchers noted.
Lenvatinib is also thought to be associated with certain serious side effects, and around 40 percent of patients who took the drug noted certain reactions after taking it- hypertension being the most common side effect and affecting two in every three patients who took the drug. Other side effects that were noted include decrease in appetite, nausea, fatigue and diarrhea. Infact, these side effects were also linked to deaths- 6 study subjects passed away during the treatment period owing to, what the researchers believe, side effects of this drug.
The researchers believe that these side effects can be handled by either adjusting the dosage or using individual measures to handle each of the side effects.