Treatment of advanced thyroid cancer with axitinib: Phase 2 study with pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic and quality-of-life assessments

Laura D. Locati, Lisa Licitra, Laura Agate, Sai Hong I Ou, Andree Boucher, Barbara Jarzab, Shukui Qin, Madeleine A. Kane, Lori J. Wirth, Connie Chen, Sinil Kim, Antonella Ingrosso, Yazdi K. Pithavala, Paul Bycott, Ezra E W Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND In a previous phase 2 trial, axitinib was active and well tolerated in patients with advanced thyroid cancer. In this second phase 2 trial, the efficacy and safety of axitinib were evaluated further in this population, and pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships and patient-reported outcomes were assessed. METHODS Patients (N=52) with metastatic or unresectable, locally advanced medullary or differentiated thyroid cancer that was refractory or not amenable to iodine-131 received a starting dose of axitinib 5 mg twice daily. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR). Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), safety, pharmacokinetic parameters, and patient-reported outcomes assessed with the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory questionnaire. RESULTS The overall ORR was 35% (18 partial responses), and 18 patients had stable disease for ≥16 weeks. The median PFS was 16.1 months, and the median OS was 27.2 months. All-causality, grade ≥3 adverse events (>5%) were fatigue, dyspnea, diarrhea, decreased weight, pain in extremity, hypertension, decreased appetite, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, hypocalcemia, and myalgia. Patients who had greater axitinib exposure had a longer median PFS. Quality of life was maintained during treatment with axitinib, and no significant deterioration in symptoms or interference in daily life caused by symptoms, assessed on MD Anderson Symptom Inventory subscales, were observed. CONCLUSIONS Axitinib has activity and a manageable safety profile while maintaining quality of life, and it represents an additional treatment option for patients with advanced thyroid cancer. Cancer 2014;120:2694-2703.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2694-2703
Number of pages10
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2014


  • axitinib
  • MD Anderson Symptom Inventory
  • metastatic disease
  • pharmacodynamic
  • pharmacokinetic
  • quality of life
  • radioactive iodine-refractory
  • thyroid cancer
  • tyrosine kinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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