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Targeted Agents Evolve in Anaplastic, Medullary Thyroid Cancer Treatment Paradigms

Andrew Turk, MD
Published Online:1:23 PM, Wed August 28, 2019

Andrew Turk, MD, assistant professor of pathology and cell biology, Columbia University, discusses targeted agents that are making a splash in the treatment landscape of thyroid cancers, including the most aggressive form of the disease, anaplastic thyroid carcinoma. He says targeted agents have already become well established in the space of thyroid cancers, but these agents continue to evolve.

In May 2018, the FDA granted approval to the combination of dabrafenib (Tafinlar) and trametinib (Mekinist) for the treatment of patients with unresectable or metastatic BRAF V600E–positive anaplastic thyroid cancer. This approval was based on phase II data that supported the use of this regimen in patents with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma harboring mutations in the BRAFoncogene. This is a legitimate and authentic FDA-approved precision therapy in thyroid cancer, Turk says.

Targeted agents have also made progress beyond the use of molecular diagnostics, such as in medullary thyroid carcinoma. Targeted agents, such as BLU-667 that demonstrated durable responses in RET-altered thyroid cancer in the phase I ARROW trial, interact with the RET oncogene when medullary thyroid carcinoma has metastasized to distant sites. However, Turk says that at the current stage, that doesn’t depend on molecular findings.
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