Lenvatinib: Role in thyroid cancer and other solid tumors

Maria E Cabanillas, Mouhammed Amir Habra
Cancer Treatment Reviews 2016, 42: 47-55
Despite recent breakthroughs in treatment of advanced thyroid cancers, prognoses remain poor. Treatment of advanced, progressive disease remains challenging, with limited treatment options. Small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors, including vandetanib, cabozantinib, sorafenib, and lenvatinib, which are now FDA-approved for thyroid cancer, have shown clinical benefit in advanced thyroid cancer. Lenvatinib is approved for treatment of locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, radioactive iodine (RAI)-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). It has been studied in phase II and III trials for treatment of advanced RAI-refractory DTC, and in a phase II trial for medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). Lenvatinib targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptors 1-3 (VEGFR1-3), fibroblast growth factor receptors 1-4 (FGFR-1-4), RET, c-kit, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor α (PDGFRα). Its antitumor activity may be due to antiangiogenic properties and direct antitumor effects. Lenvatinib has demonstrated antitumor activity in a variety of solid tumors, including MTC, in phase I and II clinical trials. In a phase II study in advanced RAI-refractory DTC, lenvatinib-treated patients achieved a 50% response rate (RR), with median progression-free survival (PFS) of 12.6 months. In a phase III trial in RAI-refractory DTC, median PFS in lenvatinib-treated patients was 18.3 months, with a 65% overall RR, versus 3.6 months in placebo-treated patients, with a 2% RR. Adverse events occurring in >50% of patients included hypertension, diarrhea, fatigue/asthenia, and decreased appetite. Lenvatinib is a promising new agent for treatment of patients with advanced thyroid cancer.

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