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T C Schneider, R M Abdulrahman, E P Corssmit, H Morreau, J W A Smit and E Kapiteijn


We conducted a prospective phase II clinical trial to determine the efficacy of sorafenib in patients with advanced radio-iodine refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. In this article, the long-term results are presented.

Patients and methods

Thirty-one patients with progressive metastatic or locally advanced radioactive iodine refractory differentiated thyroid cancer received sorafenib 400 mg orally twice daily. The study end points included response rate, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), best response by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria 1.0, and toxicity.


Median PFS was 18 months (95% confidence interval (95% CI): 7–29 months) and median OS was 34.5 months (95% CI: 19–50 months). Eight patients (31%) achieved a partial response and 11 patients (42%) showed stable disease after a median follow-up of 25 months (range 3.5–39 months). Toxicity mostly included hand foot syndrome, weight loss, diarrhea, and rash.


Sorafenib has clinically relevant antitumor activity in patients with progressive metastatic or locally advanced radio-iodine refractory differentiated thyroid cancer. Sorafenib can nowadays be considered as the standard option in these patients.

Free access

E N Klein Hesselink, D Steenvoorden, E Kapiteijn, E P Corssmit, A N A van der Horst-Schrivers, J D Lefrandt, T P Links and O M Dekkers


Many tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have been studied in patients with thyroid carcinoma (TC). However, the effect and toxicity of various TKIs in differentiated TC (DTC) and medullary TC (MTC) patients have not been directly compared. The aim of the present systematic review and meta-analysis was to systematically summarize response and toxicity of TKIs in TC patients.


All major databases were systematically searched for publications on TKIs in TC. Primary endpoint was objective response; secondary endpoints were clinical benefit, percentage TKI dose reduction/discontinuation, hand–foot syndrome, diarrhea, and nausea/vomiting. Meta-analysis was performed using an exact likelihood approach and a logistic regression. Pooled percentages and 95% CIs were reported.


In total, 22 publications were included. For DTC patients, gefitinib induced no objective responses. Pooled percentage was highest for pazopanib, 49 (95% CI 33–64)%, and was 17 (95% CI 12–24)% for sorafenib. For MTC, gefitinib and imatinib induced no objective responses, whereas sunitinib induced objective response in 43 (95% CI 14–77)%. For vandetanib and cabozantinib, these numbers were 40 (95% CI 34–46)% and 27 (95% CI 22–32)% respectively. Clinical benefit was found in 53 (95% CI 48–59)% of DTC patients on sorafenib, and in 84 (95% CI 79–88)% and 55 (95% CI 49–61)% of MTC patients on vandetanib and cabozantinib respectively. All TKIs were associated with considerable toxicity.


The currently studied TKIs show a modest response, while side effects are not negligible. Therefore, we suggest to solely consider TKIs in TC patients with rapid progressive disease, for whom the benefits of treatment outweigh toxicity.

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Karin van der Tuin, Marina Ventayol, Willem Corver, Midia Khalifa, Dina Ruano, E P Corssmit, Frederik J Hes, Thera P Links, Jan Smit, Theo S. Plantinga, E Kapiteijn, Ton Van Wezel and Hans Morreau

OBJECTIVE: Gene alterations leading to activation of the MAPK pathway are of interest for targeted therapy in patients with advanced radioactive iodine-refractory (RAI-R) thyroid carcinoma. Due to technical reasons gene fusion analysis in RNA isolated from formalin-fixed tumor tissues has till now been limited. The objective of the present study was to identify targetable gene rearrangements in RNA isolated from formalin-fixed RAI-R thyroid carcinomas.

DESIGN: Retrospective study in 132 patients with RAI-R thyroid carcinoma (59 papillary-, 24 follicular-, 35 Hürthle cell-, and 14 anaplastic thyroid carcinoma).

METHODS: Total nucleic acid (undivided DNA and RNA) was isolated from formalin-fixed tissue. Extensive gene fusion analysis was performed in all samples that tested negative for pathogenic BRAF, NRAS, HRAS and KRAS variants.

RESULTS: Seven targetable gene fusions were identified in the remaining 60 samples without known DNA variants. This includes frequently reported gene fusions such as CCDC6/RET [PTC1], PRKAR1A/RET [PTC2] and ETV6/NTRK3 (n=2), and gene fusions that are less common in thyroid cancer (TPM3/NTRK1, EML4/ALK and EML4/NTRK3). Of note, most gene fusions were detected in papillary thyroid carcinoma and MAPK-associated alterations in Hürthle cell carcinomas are rare (2/35).

CONCLUSION: Targetable gene fusions were found in 12% of RAI-R thyroid carcinoma without DNA variants, and can be effectively identified in formalin-fixed tissue. These gene fusionsmight provide a preclinical rationale to include specific kinase inhibitors in the treatment regimen for these patients. The latter intends to restore iodine transport and/or take advantage of the direct effect on tumor cell vitality once progressive disease is seen.