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Thyroid. 2013 May;23(5):600-4. doi: 10.1089/thy.2012.0103. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

Phase II trial of sorafenib in patients with advanced anaplastic carcinoma of the thyroid.

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  • 1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Seidman Cancer Center, University Hospitals , Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare but highly aggressive malignancy with a median survival of 3-5 months. The BRAF oncogene is mutated to its active form in up to 24% of ATC cases. Sorafenib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor that acts on the RAF-1 serine/threonine kinase. In preclinical mouse models, sorafenib inhibits the growth of ATC xenografts and improves survival. No study of sorafenib in ATC has been conducted. We conducted a multi-institutional phase II trial of sorafenib in patients with ATC who had failed up to two previous therapies.


The primary endpoint of the trial was the Response Evaluation Criteria In Solid Tumors (RECIST)-defined imaging response rate. Twenty patients with ATC were treated with sorafenib 400 mg twice daily.


Two of the 20 patients had a partial response (10%) and an additional 5 of 20 (25%) had stable disease. The duration of response in the two responders was 10 and 27 months, respectively. For the patients with stable disease, the median duration was 4 months (range 3-11 months). The overall median progression-free survival was 1.9 months with a median and a 1-year survival of 3.9 months and 20%, respectively. Toxicity was manageable and as previously described for sorafenib, including hypertension and skin rash.


Sorafenib has activity in ATC, but at a low frequency and similar to our previous experience with fosbretabulin. One patient with a response had previously progressed on fosbretabulin. Toxicities were both predictable and manageable.


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