New drug may increase survival rates of anaplastic thyroid cancer patients

At the International Thyroid Congress in Paris, researchers from the University of Pisa in Italy explained their research on a study of Zybrestat in the treatment of anaplastic thyroid cancer.

In the 80-patient study, the median overall survival (OS) time was 5.1 months for patients who received Zybrestat and chemotherapy, compared to a median survival time of 4.1 months for patients receiving chemotherapy alone. This represents a 29 percent reduction in the risk of dying for patients receiving both treatments.

Of patients treated with Zybrestat and chemotherapy, 48 percent were alive at six months, compared with 37 percent of patients treated with the control regimen. At one year, 23 percent of patients treated with both therapies were alive, compared to 9 percent of patients treated with chemotherapy alone. The most common side effects reported with Zybrestat and chemotherapy were neutropenia, transient hypertension and tumor pain.

"The results of this study show a clearly demonstrated survival benefit with only transient, manageable side effects," said Michael Tuttle, endocrinologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, who specializes in patients with advanced thyroid cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, as many as 1,500 people will die from thyroid cancer each year.