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Anaplastic Thyroid Drug Combo

Posted on: September 19, 2018

30 Stories in 30 Days

September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month. For the next 4 weeks, we will post stories written by thyroid cancer survivors, caregivers and friends for our 30 Stories in 30 Days campaign. We hope their perspectives and insight will help others along their journey.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a very aggressive and rare form of thyroid cancer. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of Novartis’ Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) administered together to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer that cannot be surgically removed or has spread to other locations in the body and is BRAF V600E mutation-positive.

Two other cancers, one type of melanoma and one type of lung cancer, with this specific gene mutation are also treated by this drug combination. In a nine-cohort, non-randomized trial of patients with the BRAF V600E mutation and locally advanced, unresectable, or metastatic anaplastic thyroid cancer, the overall response rate was 61%.

Richard Pazdur, MD, director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research stated, “This approval demonstrates that targeting the same molecular pathway in diverse diseases is an effective way to expedite the development of treatments that may help more patients.”

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