Parikh R, Hess LM, Esterberg E, Bhandari NR, Kaye JA. Diagnostic characteristics, treatment patterns, and clinical outcomes for US patients with advanced/metastatic medullary thyroid cancer: a retrospective medical record review. J Thyroid Res. 2022;15(2). doi: 10.1186/s13044-021-00119-9

BACKGROUND: Medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) accounts for approximately 1.6% of new cases of thyroid cancer. The objective of this study was to describe patient characteristics, biomarker testing, treatment patterns, and clinical outcomes among patients with advanced/metastatic MTC in a real-world setting in the United States and to identify potential gaps in the care of these patients.

METHODS: Selected oncologists retrospectively reviewed medical records of patients aged ≥ 12 years diagnosed with advanced MTC. Patients must have initiated ≥ 1 line of systemic treatment for advanced/metastatic MTC between January 2013–December 2018 to be eligible. Patient characteristics, biomarker testing, and treatment patterns were summarized descriptively; progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were estimated using the Kaplan– Meier method.

RESULTS: The 203 patients included in this study had a mean (SD) age of 52.2 (10.4) years; mean (SD) duration of follow-up from start of first-line treatment was 24.5 (16.0) months. Most patients (82.8%) were initially diagnosed with stage IVA, IVB, or IVC disease. Among all patients, 121 (59.6%) had testing for RET mutations, of whom 37.2% had RETmutant MTC. The RET-mutation type was reported for 28 patients; the most common mutations reported were M918T (64.3%) and C634R (32.1%). Of the 203 patients, 75.9% received only one line of systemic treatment for advanced disease, and 36% were still undergoing first-line therapy at the time of data extraction. Cabozantinib (30.0%), vandetanib (30.0%), sorafenib (17.2%), and lenvatinib (4.9%) were the most common first-line treatments. Among 49 patients who received second-line treatment, most received cabozantinib (22.4%), vandetanib (20.4%), lenvatinib (12.2%), or sunitinib (12.2%). Median PFS (95% confidence interval [CI]) from start of first- and second-line treatments was 26.6 months (20.8–60.8) and 15.3 months (6.6-not estimable [NE]), respectively. Median OS from initiation of first- and second-line treatment was 63.8 months (46.3-NE) and 22.4 months (12.4-NE), respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: For the treatment of advanced/metastatic MTC, no specific preference of sequencing systemic agents was observed in the first- and second-line settings. Considering the recent approval of selective RET inhibitors for patients with RET-mutant MTC, future research should investigate how treatment patterns evolve for these patients.

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