Treating Hereditary Thyroid Cancer in Children
Name of the Trial
Phase I/II Study of Vandetanib in Young Patients With Hereditary Medullary
Thyroid Carcinoma (NCI-07-C-0189). See the protocol
Dr. Frank Balis, NCI Center for Cancer Research, and Dr. Samuel Wells, Washington
University, St. Louis.
|Dr. Frank Balis
Why This Trial Is Important
Medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is a rare type of thyroid
cancer, representing about 2-3 percent of thyroid cancer cases. Although
MTC usually occurs in people who have no family history of the disease, about
25-40 percent of cases are hereditary. Hereditary MTC is associated with group
of genetic disorders that are caused by inherited mutations in a gene called
RET. People with these disorders usually develop MTC as children or young adults.
Surgery is the only curative therapy for patients with hereditary MTC. Patients
whose tumors cannot be surgically removed (unresectable) or that recur following
surgery need new treatment options.
In this trial, doctors are testing a new drug called vandetanib (Zactima) in
young patients with advanced hereditary MTC. Vandetanib blocks the activity
of the protein produced by the RET gene. Researchers believe
that inhibiting the activity of the RET protein may cause tumors to shrink and
reduce the levels of tumor biomarkers in patients with MTC. Besides looking
for these treatment effects, doctors will assess the safety and the pharmacokinetics
of vandetanib in these patients.
"MTC is the most common cause of death in patients with these genetic
disorders, and the disease is relatively unresponsive to radiation therapy and
standard or novel chemotherapeutic regimens," said Dr. Balis. "Vandetanib,
unlike standard chemotherapy or radiation, specifically targets the genetic
defect responsible for the development of these tumors."
Who Can Join This Trial
Researchers seek to enroll 21 patients aged 5 to 18 with hereditary MTC that
cannot be removed surgically, has recurred, or has metastasized (spread). See
of eligibility criteria.
Study Site and Contact Information
This study is taking place at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md. For
more information, call the NCI Clinical Trials Referral Office at 1-888-NCI-1937.
The toll-free call is confidential.
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