Discussing Treatment Options and Recent Trials in the Thyroid Cancer Space


Melanie Goldfarb, MD, MSc, FACS, FACE, discusses the current treatment landscape for patients with thyroid cancer.

Melanie Goldfarb, MD, MSc, FACS, FACE, Center for Endocrine Tumors, Providence Saint John's Cancer Institute, discusses the current treatment landscape for patients with thyroid cancer.

Goldfarb also notes that there typically are not many clinical trials ongoing in the thyroid cancer space. However, some of the current research in the field is focusing on medullary thyroid cancers, anaplastic thyroid cancers, and the recurrent iodine refractory tumor.


0:08 | We are, in the thyroid cancer world, moving towards less is more. We want to do this because we now know that people can do well, are going to live a long time, not have many issues, so now, we want to maximize the quality-of-life and decrease complications. Instead of everybody getting up their whole thyroid out and getting radioactive iodine, we are going towards trying to take out half the thyroid or not getting radioactive iodine. Now for some patients, [we] have to do everything, but for patients that have a smaller, well confined cancer, we're trying to minimize treatment. There have been a couple of studies coming out showing that overall quality-of-life is a bit better for people where we only take out half of their thyroid vs their whole thyroid. Many of us are moving towards doing less. I think that that's a great thing.

1:13 | Something else, we're not quite doing what we call RFA or laser, non-invasive cancer treatment. We are mostly using it for benign tumors or recurrent cancers, but I think that the jury is out on where that will be a part of the treatment in 5-10 years down the road.

1:38 | The thyroid cancer space never has a ton of clinical trials. The ones that are there focus on medullary thyroid cancers, the anaplastic thyroid cancers, the recurrent iodine refractory tumor. Most of the clinical trials in the drug space are on those bad ones. It's difficult to do a clinical trial with the other low-grade ones. There probably will be a trial starting at some point for doing the RFA or the laser with the small cancers. Some people are doing it off-label, but my guess is that around the corner, we'll do some of those.

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