BACKGROUND: Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare and aggressive cancer with no standard radiotherapy-based local treatment. Based on data suggesting synergy between pazopanib and paclitaxel in anaplastic thyroid cancer, NRG Oncology did a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised phase 2 clinical trial comparing concurrent paclitaxel and intensity-modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) with the addition of pazopanib or placebo with the aim of improving overall survival in this patient population.METHODS: Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older with a pathological diagnosis of anaplastic thyroid cancer, any TNM stage, Zubrod performance status of 0-2, no recent haemoptysis or bleeding, and no brain metastases. Patients were enrolled from 34 centres in the USA. Initially, a run-in was done to establish safety. In the randomised phase 2 trial, patients in the experimental group (pazopanib) received 2-3 weeks of weekly paclitaxel (80 mg/m2) intravenously and daily pazopanib suspension 400 mg orally followed by concurrent weekly paclitaxel (50 mg/m2), daily pazopanib (300 mg), and IMRT 66 Gy given in 33 daily fractions (2 Gy fractions). In the control group (placebo), pazopanib was replaced by matching placebo. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) to the two treatment groups by permuted block randomisation by NRG Oncology with stratification by metastatic disease. All investigators, patients, and funders of the study were masked to group allocation. The primary endpoint was overall survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. This trial is registered with Clinicaltrials.gov, NCT01236547, and is complete.FINDINGS: The safety run-showed the final dosing regimen to be safe based on two out of nine participants having adverse events of predefined concern. Between June 23, 2014, and Dec 30, 2016, 89 patients were enrolled to the phase 2 trial, of whom 71 were eligible (36 in the pazopanib group and 35 in the placebo group; 34 [48%] males and 37 [52%] females). At the final analysis (data cutoff March 9, 2020), with a median follow-up of 2·9 years (IQR 0·002-4·0), 61 patients had died. Overall survival was not significantly improved with pazopanib versus placebo, with a median overall survival of 5·7 months (95% CI 4·0-12·8) in the pazopanib group versus 7·3 months (4·3-10·6) in the placebo group (hazard ratio 0·86, 95% CI 0·52-1·43; one-sided log-rank p=0·28). 1-year overall survival was 37·1% (95% CI 21·1-53·2) in the pazopanib group and 29·0% (13·2-44·8) in the placebo group. The incidence of grade 3-5 adverse events did not differ significantly between the treatment groups (pazopanib 88·9% [32 of 36 patients] and placebo 85·3% [29 of 34 patients]; p=0·73). The most common clinically significant grade 3-4 adverse events in the 70 eligible treated patients (36 in the pazopanib group and 34 in the placebo group) were dysphagia (13 [36%] vs 10 [29%]), radiation dermatitis (8 [22%] vs 13 [38%]), increased alanine aminotransferase (12 [33%] vs none), increased aspartate aminotransferase (eight [22%] vs none), and oral mucositis (five [14%] vs eight [24%]). Treatment-related serious adverse events were reported for 16 (44%) patients on pazopanib and 12 (35%) patients on placebo. The most common serious adverse events were dehydration and thromboembolic event (three [8%] each) in patients on pazopanib and oral mucositis (three [8%]) in those on placebo. There was one treatment-related death in each group (sepsis in the pazopanib group and pneumonitis in the placebo group).INTERPRETATION: To our knowledge, this study is the largest randomised anaplastic thyroid cancer study that has completed accrual showing feasibility in a multicenter NCI National Clinical Trials Network setting. Although no significant improvement in overall survival was recorded in the pazopanib group, the treatment combination was shown to be feasible and safe, and hypothesis-generating data that might warrant further investigation were generated.FUNDING: National Cancer Institute and Novartis.
View details for DOI 10.1016/S1470-2045(22)00763-X
View details for PubMedID 36681089