Novel Cancer Drugs Target Tumor Roots
Agents Show Promise for Advanced Kidney, Thyroid, Ovarian Cancers
WebMD News Archive
Experimental Agent Combats Thyroid Tumors continued...
Though there was no comparison group in the study, “the natural history of
the disease is such that a far greater percentage would have progressed had
they not been given axitinib,” Cohen says.
Cohen says standard treatment for the 30,000 Americans who develop thyroid
cancer is surgery or radiation therapy. Though this cures a large percentage of
patients, there are few options for those who do not respond, he tells
“Axitinib and other VEGF inhibitors represent an exciting new front in the
treatment of advanced thyroid cancer,” he says. “As recently as three years ago
we had very little to offer these patients, and now we’re seeing response rates
at a level we’ve never seen with chemotherapy.”
Anti-Angiogenesis Drug Fights Ovarian Cancer
A third study looked at women with advanced ovarian cancer that had returned
and was resistant to the traditional chemotherapy drugs used to treat it. All
the women were given the experimental anti-angiogenesis drug VEGF-Trap.
Researcher William P. Tew, MD, an assistant attending physician in the
department of medicine at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, tells WebMD
that anti-angiogenesis drugs can be particularly helpful in ovarian cancer
because it is highly dependent on blood vessel growth in order to spread.
Preliminary results in the first 162 women show that tumors shrank in 8% of
them, and tumors stopped growing for at least one month in 85% of the women.
Thirty weeks into the study, 4% of women still show no signs of tumor
While that might not sound like much, Bajorin notes that there is no
approved treatment option for these patients.
Additionally, the drug relieved excess fluid in the space between the
tissues lining the abdomen and abdominal organs. This is a huge problem in
advanced ovarian cancer, which occurs in nearly one-third of women.
“We’re looking at women who have failed all known therapies and provided a
drug that is well tolerated and improves their quality of life,” he tells
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