New findings on genetic basis of thyroid cancers
October 19, 2015 — At the 15th International Thyroid Congress, hosted by the American Thyroid Association, October 18-23, 2015, in Lake Buena Vista (Orlando), Florida, researchers will present new findings on the genetic basis of anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) and differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC), and the results of studies on new treatments and strategies to improve outcomes.
An analysis of the Cancer Genome Atlas for cases of poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (PDTC) and ATC identified notable differences between the two malignancies in terms of the types and frequencies of mutations. In the poster entitled “Characteristics of the Cancer Genome of Advanced Thyroid Tumors Identifies Distinct Molecular Hallmarks,” Iñigo Landa, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, also describes mutations in genes that had not previously been associated with thyroid cancer.
Aditi Kumar, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, previously reported improved survival among patients with regionally confined ATC who were treated with aggressive multimodal therapy. They present the results of a new study in a larger group of patients in the poster “Outcomes in Response to Aggressive Multimodal Therapy in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: The Mayo Clinic Experience.” Treatment included surgical resection of tumor in 93% of patients and chemotherapy and locoregional radiation in all patients. Historically, median overall survival for patients with ATC is about 5 months. In the researchers’ smaller, pilot study median overall survival was 60 months, and in the current study median overall survival was 22.4 months.
A Phase II trial of VB-111, a therapy comprised of a non-replicating adenovirus vector engineered to deliver a transgene intended to cut off the blood supply to tumors, showed the treatment to be well-tolerated by patients with radioactive iodine refractory differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). Sina Jasim, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, described early evidence of tumor response and dose-dependent disease stabilization. More patients who received multiple doses of VB-111 at 2-month intervals versus a one-time dose met the primary study endpoint of 6-month progression-free survival, as reported in the poster, “A Multi-Cohort Phase II Trial of VB-111 in Advanced Radioactive Iodine-Refractory Differentiated Thyroid Cancer.”
Survival of pediatric patients with DTC is excellent and exceeded 99% across a median follow-up of 13.5 years in a study described by Marielle Klein Hesselink, University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen, The Netherlands. However the study showed a relatively high rate of postoperative complications after total thyroidectomy, combined with lymph node dissection in nearly half of patients. These included transient and permanent hypoparathyroidism and recurrent laryngeal nerve injury. In the poster “Pediatric Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma in The Netherlands: A Nationwide Follow-Up Study,” the researchers conclude that minimizing treatment-related morbidity should be a major priority, and an emphasis on centralization of care for pediatric patients with DTC may help reduce surgical complications.
The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is the leading worldwide organization dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international membership medical society with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world. Celebrating its 92nd anniversary, the ATA delivers its mission — of being devoted to thyroid biology and to the prevention and treatment of thyroid disease through excellence in research, clinical care, education, and public health — through several key endeavors: the publication of highly regarded professional journals, Thyroid, Clinical Thyroidology, and VideoEndocrinology; annual scientific meetings; biennial clinical and research symposia; research grant programs for young investigators, support of online professional, public and patient educational programs; and the development of guidelines for clinical management of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer. The ATA promotes thyroid awareness and information through its online Clinical Thyroidology for the Public (distributed free of charge to over 11,000 patients and public subscribers) and extensive, authoritative explanations of thyroid disease and thyroid cancer in both English and Spanish. The ATA website serves as the clinical resource for patients and the public who look for reliable information on the Internet. Every fifth year, the American Thyroid Association joins with the Latin American Thyroid Society, the European Thyroid Association, and the Asia and Oceania Thyroid Association to co-sponsor the International Thyroid Congress (ITC). This year the ITC is hosted by the American Thyroid Association at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. More information about the 15th ITC can be found at http://www.thyroid.org/itc2015/.