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Clinical Trial explores Combination Therapy for Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer


Clinical trial finds that combination therapy for anaplastic thyroid cancer does not prolong life

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare and highly aggressive type of thyroid cancer that accounts for only 1-2% of all thyroid cancers. It is considered one of the most lethal cancers, with a median survival time of less than 6 months, and is often diagnosed at advanced stages due to its rapid growth and early spread to nearby organs.

ATC arises from the follicular cells of the thyroid gland, which are responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism. The exact cause of ATC is unknown, but it is thought to be associated with genetic mutations, exposure to radiation, and a history of thyroid disease. Current treatment options for ATC are limited, and there is an urgent need for more effective therapies to improve the prognosis of this disease.

A group of researchers tried a treatment approach by combining two drugs: paclitaxel and pazopanib. They did a clinical trial to see if this combination of drugs could help people with this cancer live longer.

Clinical Trial

The clinical trial was done by a group called NRG Oncology. They enrolled 89 patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer from 34 medical centers in the United States. These patients were randomly split into two groups. One group received the drug combination of paclitaxel and pazopanib, while the other group received a placebo (a dummy pill that looked like the real drug but had no active ingredients). The goal was to compare the survival rates of these two groups.


The results of the trial showed that the drug combination was safe to use. In the group that received paclitaxel and pazopanib, 88.9% of patients had grade 3-5 side effects, which were similar to the side effects experienced by the group that received the placebo (85.3%). The most common side effects were dysphagia (trouble swallowing), radiation dermatitis (skin irritation), and liver enzyme elevations. However, there were some serious side effects such as dehydration and thromboembolic events (a blood clot that travels to the lungs), but they were not more frequent in the group that received the drug combination.

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Despite the safety of the drug combination, the trial did not show a significant improvement in overall survival for the group that received the paclitaxel and pazopanib. The median overall survival for this group was 5.7 months, while the median survival for the group that received the placebo was 7.3 months. This means that the drug combination did not make a significant difference in how long people lived with anaplastic thyroid cancer. However, the results of the trial are still considered hypothesis-generating data, which means that they could inspire further research.


This clinical trial showed that combining paclitaxel and pazopanib is safe for people with anaplastic thyroid cancer. While the trial did not find a significant improvement in overall survival, the results could help inspire further research into new treatment options for this rare and aggressive cancer.


ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01236547

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This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. CenTrial Data Ltd. does not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. Treatments and clinical trials mentioned may not be appropriate or available for all trial participants. Outcomes from treatments and clinical trials may vary from person to person. Consult with your doctor as to whether a clinical trial is a suitable option for your condition. Assistance from generative AI tools may have been used in writing this article.