Background: Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare and extremely aggressive malignancy, with a median survival of less than 6 months due to rapid progression and resistance to multimodal therapies. Effective treatment strategies have not been identified. A prospective clinical study was performed to objectively evaluate outcomes of treatment with paclitaxel. Methods: An investigator-initiated, multicenter, nonrandomized, open-label, single-arm study to evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of weekly paclitaxel (80 mg/m2) administration for patients with pathologically confirmed ATC was conducted in a nationwide organization. Results: Feasibility was analyzed in 56 patients. More than one course of treatment was performed in 52 (93%) patients retaining sufficient dose intensity (>84%). No patient had to terminate the treatment because of an adverse event. The median overall survival was 6.7 months [confidence interval 4.4-9.0]. The 6-month survival was 54%. Among the 42 patients with an evaluable lesion, none demonstrated complete remission, 9 (21%) showed partial remission, 22 (52%) achieved stable disease, and 8 (19%) exhibited progressive disease; 3 did not complete the initial treatment course. The objective response rate was 21%, and the clinical benefit rate was 73%. The median time to progression was 1.6 months. Statistically, no additional effect of concomitant radiation was demonstrated in 6 patients receiving combined therapy. Eight patients, in whom a complete post-treatment surgical removal of the tumor was feasible, survived significantly longer (median 7.6 months [CI 8.1-23.0]) than the other 34 patients in whom the tumor could not be completely removed after chemotherapy (5.4 months [CI 3.0-7.8], p = 0.018). Summary: The study demonstrates objective and accurate information concerning the feasibility and efficacy of a standardized treatment with weekly paclitaxel administration for ATC patients. Conclusions: Weekly paclitaxel administration for ATC patients can be of clinical benefit in a neo-adjuvant setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism