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The addition of fosbretabulin tromethamine (CA4P) to standard chemotherapy significantly improved survival at one year compared to chemotherapy alone in advanced anaplastic thyroid cancer. These results were recently presented at the 2011 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The thyroid is a gland in the throat that produces hormones mostly related to metabolic processes in the body.  There are different types of thyroid cancer, depending upon the type of cell within the thyroid that the cancer originates.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare type of thyroid cancer that is very aggressive. Cure rates for advanced anaplastic thyroid cancer remain suboptimal and novel therapeutic agents continue to be evaluated in clincial trials for this disease.

Fosbretabulin tromethamine is an agent that has not yet been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but is in the last phase of clinical trials. It produces anti-cancer effects by  decreasing blood flow to cancer cells and has demonstrated activity against anaplastic thyroid cancer in prior clinical studies.

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Researchers from Europe, India and the United States recently conducted a phase II/III clinical trial to further evaluate CA4P in the treatment of advanced anaplastic thyroid cancer.  The trial (FACT trial) included 80 patients who were treated with CA4P plus the chemotherapy combination of carboplatin and paclitaxel, or carboplatin and paclitaxel only.

  • Survival was significantly improved at one year in the group treated with CA4P. Survival at one year was 27% for the group treated with CA4P plus chemotherapy compared to only 9% for those treated with chemotherapy only.
  • Treatment with CA4P was well tolerated, with low-grade high blood pressure and low levels of immune cells being more common in the CA4p group than in the group treated with chemotherapy only.

The authors of the study stated that “This trial, the largest prospective randomized trial ever conducted in ATC, suggests that CA4P improves [overall survival] with a tripling of 1-year survival.”

Reference:  Sosa J. A., Elisei R., Jarzab B., et al. A randomized phase II/III trial of a tumor vascular disrupting agent fosbretabulin tromethamine (CA4P) with carboplatin (C) and paclitaxel (P) in anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC): Final survival analysis for the FACT trial. Paper presented at the 2011 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. Abstract 5502.

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