A recent study shows that oral lenvatinib shows increased delay in the progression of advanced thyroid cancer as compared to placebo treatment. While the former exhibited results showing 18 months of delayed progression, the latter was effective in causing only four months of delay. The study shows that lenvatinib is capable of causing improvement in progression-free survival for radioiodine-refractory thyroid cancer. The lenvatinib study results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine on February 12.
The study involved the examination of oral lenvatinib on as many as 392 patients from 21 different countries. The patients were at a later stage of the thyroid cancer where the disease had become resistant to radioactive iodine. Of the total number of test subjects, 261 were administered a dosage of lenvatinib while the rest 131 were subjected to a placebo treatment. However, when the researchers saw a progress in the cancer of placebo-treated patients, they were given oral lenvatinib.
The drug helped in improving progression-free thyroid cancer by almost five times, but was also found useful in other patients. Around two-thirds of all the patients who were administered the drug responded either fully or partially to the drug. Researchers explained that this is a significant advancement for therapy in thyroid cancer, especially with patients suffering at advanced levels of the disease. Despite this, the drug failed to show any significant improvements in the overall survival of the patients.
Researchers also noticed some important side effects of the drugs during the treatment. More than 40% of the patients who received lenvatinib showed some kind of reaction to the drug. Among the most common side-effects included hypertension and other effects noticed were diarrhea, nausea, fatigue and a loss of weight, as also appetite. The side effects were also related to some deaths. While 37 patients declined the continuance of the drug, six of 20 deaths during the therapy were found to be caused due to lenvatinib.