Researchers find that vandetanib may be an effective treatment for medullary thyroid cancer patients

A recent phase three trial conducted by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) suggests that vandetanib, a once-daily selective oral inhibitor of vascular endothelial growth - which describes the lining of cells, extended progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with medullary thyroid cancer, Endocrine Today reports.

The research, which was presented at the International Thyroid Congress, focuses on a study which included 331 adults with medullary thyroid cancer. Researchers assigned all patients to vandetanib or placebo between December 2006 and November 2007.

Two-year follow-up results showed that 37 percent of the patients had progression and 15 percent had died. Median PFS was 19.3 months in the placebo group, and it had not yet been found in the vandetanib group.

"The primary endpoint was met - vandetanib demonstrated a statistically significant advantage in progression-free survival versus placebo," wrote Samuel A. Wells, of the medical oncology branch of the NCI.

The researchers said overall survival data were "immature" at the time of data cutoff at 24 months. A final survival analysis will take place after 59 percent of patients have died.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 44,670 new cases of thyroid cancer will be diagnosed nationwide this year.