Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is rare but extremely aggressive, which accounts for
about 2% of all thyroid cancers yet nearly 50% of thyroid-cancer-associated deaths
in the United States. The median survival time from diagnosis is 5 months, with a
1-year survival rate of only 20%. We report here a case of ATC in a 56-year-old man
who survived a large ATC. Preoperative fine-needle aspiration biopsy study to a
large right thyroid mass suggested ATC. Total thyroidectomy with radical lateral
neck and central neck dissection removed a well-circumscribed 9.5 cm tumor
without extrathyroidal extension or lymphovascular invasion. All 73 lymph nodes
removed were negative for metastasis. The tumor consisted of highly pleomorphic,
undifferentiated cells with large zones of necrosis and loss of thyroid
transcription factor-1 and thyroglobulin expression. A focal well-differentiated
component and PAX8 expression confirmed its thyroid follicular cell origin. Nine
months after postsurgical adjuvant concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy,
the patient remained well without clinical, biochemical, and radiographical evidence
for cancer recurrence. This is an unusual case of ATC in that it is one of the
largest ATC tumors reported to display mild pathologic behavior and relatively
long-term patient survival.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) comprises 1-2% of all thyroid cancers and is one of the most aggressive cancers with a median survival rate of around four months. The average 5-year survival rate has been reported to be around 3.6%. In this paper, we have discussed management and prognostic variables of a patient with ATC who has survived for more than 5 years. A 59-year-old female was referred to our facility for an elective thyroid and parathyroidectomy for concerns of thyroid papillary cancer and hyperparathyroidism. At the time of surgery, the tumor mass had invaded the muscular layer of esophagus; radicle thyroidectomy parathyroidectomy along with removal of muscle layer of esophagus was performed, and diagnosis of ATC was made. The patient was treated with chemoradiation with a good treatment response and no recurrence of tumor for two and a half years until PET/CT followed by wedge biopsy of lung confirmed ATC recurrence. The patient was treated with another course of radiation treatment with a good treatment response. Since then, the patient has been following in our outpatient oncology clinic and has no evidence of tumor recurrence. Aggressive multimodal approach of combining radicle surgery with chemoradiation treatment in select patients of ATC with no distant metastasis helps improve prognosis.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare, lethal disease associated with a median survival of 6 months despite the best multidisciplinary care. Surgical resection is not curative in ATC patients, being often a palliative procedure. Multidisciplinary care may include surgery, loco-regional radiotherapy, and systemic therapy. Besides conventional chemotherapy, multi kinase-targeted inhibitors are emerging as novel therapeutic tools. The numerous molecular alteration detected in ATC are targets for these inhibitors. The aim of this review is to determine the prevalence of the major genetic alterations occurring in ATC and place the results in the context of the emerging kinase-targeted therapies.
The study is based on published PubMed studies addressing the prevalence of BRAF, RAS, PTEN, PI3KCA and TP53 mutations and RET rearrangements in ATC.
21 articles dealing with 652 genetic analyses of the selected genes were used. The overall prevalence determined were the following: RET/PTC, 4%; BRAF, 23%; RAS, 60%; PTEN, 16%; PI3KCA, 24%; TP53, 48%. Genetic alterations are sometimes overlapping.
Mutations of BRAF, PTEN and PI3KCA genes are common in ATC, with RAS and TP53 being the most frequent. Given ATC genetic complexity, effective therapies may benefit from individualized therapeutic regimens in a multidisciplinary approach.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most lethal human cancers with a median survival of 6 months. The inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) alone, or with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor2 (VEGFR2), represents an attractive approach for treatment of ATC. Several reports have examined agents that target these receptors. However, with the misidentification of as many as 60% of all commonly used ATC cell lines, the significance of these past findings is unclear.
Cell lines authenticated by short tandem repeat profiling were selected to establish xenograft tumors in an orthotopic murine model of ATC. These mice were then treated with vandetanib to evaluate its effects on ATC tumor growth. Dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI) was utilized to measure the impact of vandetanib on tumor vasculature.
Vandetanib inhibited tumor growth of the ATC cell lines Hth83 and 8505C in vivo by 69.3% (p<0.001) and 66.6% (p<0.05), respectively, when compared to control. Significant decreases in vascular permeability (p<0.01) and vascular volume fraction (p<0.05) were detected by DCE-MRI in the orthotopic xenograft tumors after one week of treatment with vandetanib as compared to control.
The inhibition of EGFR and VEGFR2 by vandetanib and its tremendous in vivo anti-tumor activity against ATC make it an attractive candidate for further pre-clinical as well as clinical development for the treatment of this particularly virulent cancer which remains effectively untreatable. Vandetanib disrupts angiogenesis and DCE-MRI is an effective method to quantify changes in vascular function in vivo.
Thyroid cancers represent about 1% of all human cancers. Differentiate thyroid carcinomas (DTCs), papillary and follicular cancers, are the most frequent forms, instead Anaplastic Thyroid Carcinoma (ATC) is estimated to comprise 1–2% of thyroid malignancies and it accounts for 14–39% of thyroid cancer deaths. The annual incidence of ATC is about one to two cases/million, with the overall incidence being higher in Europe (and area of endemic goiter) than in USA. ATC has a more complex genotype than DTCs, with chromosomal aberrations present in 85–100% of cases. A small number of gene mutations have been identified, and there appears to be a progression in mutations acquired during dedifferentiation. The mean survival time is around 6 months from diagnosis an outcome that is frequently not altered by treatment. ATC presents with a rapidly growing fixed and hard neck mass, often metastatic local lymph nodes appreciable on examination and/or vocal paralysis. Symptoms may reflect rapid growth of tumor with local invasion and/or compression. The majority of patients with ATC die from aggressive local regional disease, primarily from upper airway respiratory failure. For this reason, aggressive local therapy is indicated in all patients who can tolerate it. Although rarely possible, complete surgical resection gives the best chance of long-term control and improved survival. Therapy options include surgery, external beam radiation therapy, tracheostomy, chemotherapy, and investigational clinical trials. Multimodal or combination therapy should be useful. In fact, surgical debulking of local tumor, combined with external beam radiation therapy and chemotherapy as neoadjuvant (before surgery) or adjuvant (after surgery) therapy, may prevent death from local airway obstruction and as best may slight prolong survival. Investigational clinical trials in phase I or in phase II are actually in running and they include anti-angiogenetic drugs, multi-kinase inhibitor drugs.
anaplastic; cancer; genetic alteration; prognosis; therapy; thyroid; treatment; tumor
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC), a highly aggressive malignancy, has a poor prognosis, and the consensus on the most effective treatment is needed.
Clinical data from all ATC patients treated in our institution over a 30-year period (between May 1980 and May 2010) were analyzed retrospectively with regard to mortality and survival rates (Kaplan–Meier). Multivariate analysis was performed using a Cox proportional hazards model.
Sixty cases were analyzed. The overall 1- and 3-year survival rates were 35.0% and 22.9%, respectively. Univariate analysis showed that the best prognosis was seen in patients younger than 55 years, those without distant metastases, those with white blood cell (WBC) counts < 10.0 × 109/L or blood platelet (PLT) counts < 300.0 × 109/L at presentation, those who did not receive chemotherapy, and those who received radiotherapy doses ≥ 40 Gy or underwent surgery plus postoperative radiotherapy. According to multivariate analysis, the WBC count at first presentation and the type of therapeutic regimen independently influenced survival.
We found that the elevated peripheral PLT count may be an adverse prognostic factor of ATC patients. The prognosis for ATC is especially poor for patients with distant metastasis, a WBC count ≥ 10.0×109/L, a PLT count ≥ 300.0 × 109/L, or age ≥ 55 years. WBC count at presentation and surgery with or without postoperative radiotherapy independently influenced the prognosis. Intensive treatment combining surgery with postoperative radiotherapy is recommended for ATC patients with stage IVA/B disease.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the most aggressive thyroid cancer variant, accounting for 1–2% of all cases, but 33% of deaths, and exhibiting an average life expectancy of 5 months. ATC is largely unresponsive to radioactive iodine, chemotherapy, external beam radiation or surgery, underscoring the need for new and effective therapies. We evaluated the therapeutic potential of an oncolytic adenovirus, ONYX-411, that replicates selectively in and kills cells with dysfunction of the retinoblastoma (RB) pathway. In the present study, we report that ONYX-411 is able to induce cell death in eight human anaplastic carcinoma cell lines in vitro. The cytopathic effect of the virus is specific to cells with RB dysfunction, which appears to be frequent in ATC. We confirmed the expression of the coxsackie adenovirus receptor, CAR, in all ATC cell lines, demonstrating the potentially universal application of this oncolytic viral therapy to ATC. In addition, the growth of xenograft tumors induced in athymic mice with the ARO and DRO cell lines was significantly reduced by ONYX-411 treatment. These results indicate that ONYX-411 can be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of ATC, rendering this class of conditionally replicating adenoviruses an attractive candidate for clinical trials.
anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; ONYX-411; retinoblastoma dysfunction; novel therapeutic agent
A relationship between the increased density of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and decreased survival was recently reported in thyroid cancer patients. Among these tumors, anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is one of the most aggressive solid tumors in humans. TAMs (type M2) have been recognized as promoting tumor growth. The purpose of our study was to analyze with immunohistochemistry the presence of TAMs in a series of 27 ATC.
Several macrophages markers such as NADPH oxidase complex NOX2-p22phox, CD163 and CD 68 were used. Immunostainings showed that TAMs represent more than 50% of nucleated cells in all ATCs. Moreover, these markers allowed the identification of elongated thin ramified cytoplasmic extensions, bestowing a “microglia-like” appearance on these cells which we termed “Ramified TAMs” (RTAMs). In contrast, cancer cells were totally negative. Cellular stroma was highly simplified since apart from cancer cells and blood vessels, RTAMs were the only other cellular component. RTAMs were evenly distributed and intermingled with cancer cells, and were in direct contact with other RTAMs via their ramifications. Moreover, RTAMs displayed strong immunostaining for connexin Cx43. Long chains of interconnected RTAMs arose from perivascular clusters and were dispersed within the tumor parenchyma. When expressed, the glucose transporter Glut1 was found in RTAMs and blood vessels, but rarely in cancer cells.
ATCs display a very dense network of interconnected RTAMs in direct contact with intermingled cancer cells. To our knowledge this is the first time that such a network is described in a malignant tumor. This network was found in all our studied cases and appeared specific to ATC, since it was not found in differentiated thyroid cancers specimens. Taken together, these results suggest that RTAMs network is directly related to the aggressiveness of the disease via metabolic and trophic functions which remain to be determined.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the most lethal form of thyroid neoplasia and represents the end stage of thyroid tumor progression. No effective treatment exists so far. ATC frequently derive from papillary thyroid carcinomas (PTC), which have a good prognosis. In this study, we analyzed the mRNA expression profiles of 59 thyroid tumors (11 ATC and 48 PTC) by microarrays. ATC and PTC showed largely overlapping mRNA expression profiles with most genes regulated in all ATC being also regulated in several PTC. 43% of the probes regulated in all the PTC are similarly regulated in all ATC. Many genes modulations observed in PTC are amplified in ATC. This illustrates the fact that ATC mostly derived from PTC. A molecular signature of aggressiveness composed of 9 genes clearly separates the two tumors. Moreover, this study demonstrates gene regulations corresponding to the ATC or PTC phenotypes like inflammatory reaction, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and invasion, high proliferation rate, dedifferentiation, calcification and fibrosis processes, high glucose metabolism and glycolysis, lactate generation and chemoresistance. The main qualitative differences between the two tumor types bear on the much stronger EMT, dedifferentiation and glycolytic phenotypes showed by the ATC.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the rarest, but deadliest histologic type among thyroid malignancies, with a dismal median survival of 3-9 mo. Even though ATC accounts for less than 2% of all thyroid tumors, it is responsible for 14%-39% of thyroid carcinoma-related deaths. ATC clinically presents as a rapidly growing mass in the neck, associated with dyspnoea, dysphagia and vocal cord paralysis. It is usually locally advanced and often metastatic at initial presentation. For operable diseases, the combination of radical surgery with adjuvant radiotherapy or chemotherapy, using agents such as doxorubicin and cisplatin, is the best treatment strategy. Cytotoxic drugs for advanced/metastatic ATC are poorly effective. On the other hand, targeted agents might represent a viable therapeutic option. Axitinib, combretastatin A4, sorafenib and imatinib have been tested in small clinical trials of ATC, with a promising disease control rate ranging from 33% to 75%. Other clinical trials of targeted therapy for thyroid carcinoma are currently ongoing. Biological agents that are under investigation include pazopanib, gefitinib and everolimus. With the very limited therapeutic armamentarium available at the present time, targeted therapy constitutes an exciting new horizon for ATC. In future, biological agents will probably represent the standard of care for this aggressive malignancy, in the same fashion as it has recently occurred for other chemo-refractory tumors, such as kidney and hepatic cancer.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer; Targeted agents
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is an uncommon malignancy of the thyroid. Only 1-2% of thyroid cancers are anaplastic, but the disease contributes to 14–50% of the mortality with a median survival of 3 to 5 months. Most patients diagnosed with this disease are 65 years of age or older. The incidence of anaplastic thyroid cancer is decreasing worldwide. Most patients present with a rapidly growing neck mass, dysphagia, or voice change. We performed a comprehensive literature search using PubMed focusing on the treatment of anaplastic thyroid cancer including historical review of treatment and outcomes and investigations of new agents and approaches. A total of sixteen chart review and retrospective studies and eleven prospective studies and/or clinical trials were reviewed. The current standard therapeutic approach is to consider the disease as systemic at time of diagnosis and pursue combined modality therapy incorporating cytoreductive surgical resection where feasible and/or chemoradiation either concurrently or sequentially. Doxorubicin is the most commonly used agent, with a response rate of 22%. Several new agents are currently under investigation. Referral of patients for participation in clinical trials is needed.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) belongs to the most malignant and rapidly progressive human thyroid cancers and its prognosis is very poor. Also, it shows high resistance to cancer treatments, so that effective treatment for ATC has not been found to date, and virtually all patients terminate their life rapidly after diagnosis. Although targeted treatment of genetic alterations has emerged as an extremely promising approach to human cancers, such as BRAF in metastatic melanoma, it remains unclear that how commonly genomic alterations are influenced in ATC tumorigenesis. In recent years, genome wide approaches have been exploited to find genetic alterations associated with complex diseases, including cancer. Here, we reviewed the comprehensive genetic alterations in ATC and recent approaches in the context of identifying genomic alterations associated with ATC. Since surprisingly few reports have been published on the genome wide study of ATC, this review puts emphasis on the urgent needs of genomic research for the prevention and treatment of ATC.
anaplastic thyroid cancer; disease associated alterations; genetic variation
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is among the most aggressive human malignancies. It is associated with a high rate of local recurrence and with poor prognosis.
We retrospectively reviewed 44 consecutive patients treated between 1996 and 2010 at Leon Berard Cancer Centre, Lyon, France. The combined treatment strategy derived from the one developed at the Institut Gustave Roussy included total thyroidectomy and cervical lymph-node dissection, when feasible, combined with 2 cycles of doxorubicin (60 mg/m2) and cisplatin (100 mg/m2) Q3W, hyperfractionated (1.2 Gy twice daily) radiation to the neck and upper mediastinum (46-50 Gy), and then four cycles of doxorubicin-cisplatin.
Thirty-five patients received the three-phase combined treatment. Complete response after treatment was achieved in 14/44 patients (31.8%). Eight patients had a partial response (18.2%). Twenty-two (50%) had progressive disease. All patients with metastases at diagnosis died shortly afterwards. Thirteen patients are still alive. The median survival of the entire population was 8 months.
Despite the ultimately dismal prognosis of ATC, multimodality treatment significantly improves local control and appears to afford long-term survival in some patients. There is active ongoing research, and results obtained with new targeted systemic treatment appear encouraging.
A 63-year-old female was admitted to our hospital with a tender abdominal wall mass about 15 cm in diameter, which she had for 1 month. About 1 week earlier, the patient had also perceived a mass in the neck area. Computed tomography revealed huge thyroid and periumbilical masses. The thyroid hormone levels were consistent with a hyperthyroid state. Pathological examination of the thyroid mass was compatible with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) and the abdominal cutaneous mass was shown to be metastatic ATC. Despite palliative radiotherapy and chemotherapy, the patient died of respiratory failure on her 63rd day of hospitalization. This case demonstrates that abdominal cutaneous metastasis and hyperthyroidism can occur as initial manifestations of ATC. To our knowledge, this is the first reported case.
Thyroid neoplasms; Anaplastic carcinoma; Cutaneous metastasis; Hyperthyroidism
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is the most aggressive form of thyroid cancer, and often derives from pre-existing well-differentiated tumors. Despite a relatively low prevalence, it accounts for a disproportionate number of thyroid cancer-related deaths, due to its resistance to any therapeutic approach. Here we describe the first mouse model of ATC, obtained by combining in the mouse thyroid follicular cells two molecular hallmarks of human ATC: activation of PI3K (via Pten deletion) and inactivation of p53. By 9 months of age, over 75% of the compound mutant mice develop aggressive, undifferentiated thyroid tumors that evolve from pre-existing follicular hyperplasia and carcinoma. These tumors display all the features of their human counterpart, including pleomorphism, epithelial-mesenchymal transition, aneuploidy, local invasion, and distant metastases. Expression profiling of the murine ATCs reveals a significant overlap with genes found deregulated in human ATC, including genes involved in mitosis control. Furthermore, similar to the human tumors, [Pten, p53]thyr−/− tumors and cells are highly glycolytic and remarkably sensitive to glycolysis inhibitors, which synergize with standard chemotherapy. Taken together, our results show that combined PI3K activation and p53 loss faithfully reproduce the development of thyroid anaplastic carcinomas, and provide a compelling rationale for targeting glycolysis to increase chemotherapy response in ATC patients.
thyroid cancer; mouse model; anaplastic; glycolysis; PI3K; Pten; p53
To investigate the ultrasonographic (US) features of anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) and the diagnostic performance of US-guided fine needle aspiration biopsy (FNAB) therein.
Materials and Methods
Eighteen cases of ATC diagnosed between January 2001 and May 2011 were included. FNAB was performed in all cases. Initial FNAB results were divided into three groups: 1) the cytological ATC group, cytological diagnosis of ATC; 2) the underestimated group, cytological diagnoses of malignancy other than ATC; and 3) the false negative group, cytological diagnoses of atypical, benign and non-diagnostic lesions. We retrospectively reviewed US findings and compared treatment modalities between each group.
Among the 18 patients, there were nine in the initially cytological ATC group, four in the underestimated group and five in the false negative group. The most common US features of ATC were a solid (64.7%) and irregular shaped (88.2%) mass with lymph node involvement (76.4%). However, except for lymph node involvement (p=0.003), US findings for each group were not statistically different. The initial cytological diagnostic accuracy of ATC was 50% (9/18). Surgery was performed less in the ATC group (11%) and the false negative group (20%) than the underestimated group (75%).
The US features of ATC were not especially different from other types of aggressive thyroid cancer. A correct diagnosis of ATC by initial US-FNAB was made in 50% of the patients, which is significant in that therapeutic surgery can be undertaken in lower numbers if correctly diagnosed.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer; fine needle aspiration biopsy; ultrasonography
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is one of the most malignant human neoplasms and has a grave prognosis. This study gives an update on our experience with this unusual neoplasm, with specific focus on the response to various treatment modalities. Forty-seven patients with histologically proven ATCs were enrolled (19 men, 28 women; mean age, 62.8 years). This number represents 1.5% among a total of 3,088 thyroid cancers treated between 1977 and 2002. The mean tumor diameter was 8.8 cm, and 22 patients had distant metastasis. Extrathyroidal extension was seen in 26 (89.7%) of the cases that underwent surgery. Treatment modalities adopted could be classified into 5 groups: Group 1, biopsy only; Group 2, biopsy and chemoradiotherapy; Group 3, debulking only; Goup 4, debulking and chemoradiotherapy; Group 5, complete excision and chemoradiotherapy. Survival was calculated from the time of diagnosis, and comparisons of survival were done by log-rank analysis. The mean survival was 4.3 months (range, 1.0-21 months). The mean survival based on treatment modalities were as follows: Group 1 (n = 10), 2.1 months, Group 2 (n = 8); 3.6 months; Group 3 (n = 7), 3.0 months; Group 4 (n = 14), 3.5 months, Group 5 (n = 8), 9.4 months. There was no significant difference in survival time between the various types of treatment modalities. Even though a small improvement in survival was observed with complete excision and aggressive multimodality therapy, nearly all ATCs remain unresponsive to ongoing treatment modalities and as such, present a therapeutic dilemma. A more effective treatment regimen should be sought in order to improve survival.
Anaplastic thyroid cancer; treatment modalities; treatment outcome
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is an undifferentiated, aggressive malignancy, for which there are no effective therapies. Though ATCs only make up less than 2% of all thyroid cancer cases, they represent over half of the thyroid cancer related deaths. Chrysin, a natural flavonoid, has recently been reported as a potential anti-cancer agent. However, the effect of this compound on ATC cells is not known. Thus, in this study, we evaluated the antiproliferative nature of Chrysin in ATC cells.
HTH7 and KAT18 cells, derived from patients with ATC, were treated with Chrysin (25–50 μM) for up to 6 days. Cell proliferation was measured every 2 days using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT). Western blot analysis for molecular makers of apoptosis was carried out to investigate the effect and mechanism of Chrysin on ATC.
Chrysin inhibited proliferation of HTH7 and KAT18 in a dose and time dependent manner. HTH7 and KAT18 cells with Chrysin treatment showed a significant increase in cleaved caspase-3, cleaved PolyADP Ribose Polymerase (PARP), along with a decrease in cyclin D1, Mcl-1 and XIAP. Furthermore, the ratio of Bax to Bcl-2 expression in ATC cells revealed an increase after the treatment.
Chrysin inhibits growth in ATC cells via apoptosis in vitro. Therefore, the natural flavonoid Chrysin warrants further clinical investigation as a new potential drug for the treatment for ATC.
anaplastic thyroid cancer; chrysin; apoptosis; proliferation
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) is a rare and highly aggressive thyroid neoplasm. Bleeding from tumor is an uncommon, but potentially life-threatening complication requiring sophisticated intervention facilities which are not usually available at odd hours in emergency. We report the case of a 45-year-old woman who presented with exsanguinating hemorrhage from ATC and was treated by emergency total thyroidectomy. The patient is well three months postoperatively. Emergency total thyroidectomy is a viable option for palliation in ATC presenting with bleeding.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; Thyroidectomy; Active bleeding
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) remains one of the most lethal known human cancers. Targeted molecular therapy with cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody against EGFR, offers new treatment potentials for patient with ATC. Cetuximab has also been reported to have synergistic effects when combined with irinotecan, a topoisomerase inhibitor. Therefore, we hypothesized that cetuximab and irinotecan would be effective in inhibiting the growth and progression of ATC in a murine orthotopic model.
The in vitro anti-proliferative effects of cetuximab and irinotecan on ATC cell line ARO were examined. We also studied the in vivo effects of cetuximab and irinotecan on the growth, invasion, and metastasis of orthotopic ATC tumors in nude mice. The in vivo antitumor efficacy of cetuximab/irinotecan combination was also compared with that of doxorubicin.
Cetuximab alone did not show any anti-proliferative or pro-apoptotic effect on this cell line. However, when combined with irinotecan, cetuximab potentiated the in vitro anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effect of irinotecan. Cetuximab, irinotecan, and cetuximab/irinotecan combination resulted in 77%, 79%, and 93% in vivo inhibition of tumor growth, respectively. Incidences of lymph node metastasis, laryngeal invasion, and tumor microvessel density were also significantly decreased in these treatment groups. Furthermore, the cetuximab/irinotecan combination was significantly more effective than doxorubicin in inhibiting the growth of orthotopic ATC xenografts.
Combination therapy with cetuximab/irinotecan inhibits the growth and progression of orthotopic ATC xenografts in nude mice. Given the lack of curative options for patients with ATC, combination therapy with cetuximab and irinotecan treatment warrants further study.
Fosbretabulin is a novel vascular-disrupting agent that has antitumor activity against anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) cell lines, xenografts, and demonstrable efficacy in a phase I trial. This phase II study determined the efficacy and safety of fosbretabulin in patients with advanced ATC and whether fosbretabulin altered the natural history of ATC by virtue of doubling the median survival. A secondary aim evaluated the prognostic value of serum soluble intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM).
Twenty-six patients received fosbretabulin 45 mg/m2 as a 10-minute intravenous infusion on days 1, 8, and 15 of a 28-day cycle. sICAM levels were obtained at baseline, over the first two cycles, and end of therapy. Treatment was continued until disease progression.
Fosbretabulin was well tolerated; grade 3 toxicity was observed in nine patients (35%), and grade 4 toxicity in one (4%). QTc prolongation delayed treatment in four causing one to stop treatment. Median survival was 4.7 months with 34% and 23% alive at 6 and 12 months, respectively. Median duration of stable disease in seven patients was 12.3 months (range, 4.4–37.9 months). Baseline serum sICAM levels were measured in 24 patients with a median 253.5 ng/mL. There was a significant difference in event-free survival among tertiles of baseline sICAM levels (p < 0.009).
There were no objective responses seen with single-agent fosbretabulin as administered in this trial, and we did not observe a doubling of survival as our primary endpoint. This is among the largest prospective trials ever conducted for ATC. Fosbretabulin has an acceptable safety profile in patients with advanced ATC, and one-third survived more than 6 months. Despite a small sample size, low baseline sICAM levels were predictive of event-free survival. Further prospective validation of sICAM as a therapeutic biomarker and exploring combination regimens with fosbretabulin are warranted.
Patients with anaplastic thyroid carcinoma (ATC) typically succumb to their disease months after diagnosis despite aggressive therapy. A large percentage of ATCs have been shown to harbor the V600E B-Raf point mutation, leading to the constitutive activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. ATC invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis are in part dependent on the gelatinase class of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The explicit targeting of these two tumor markers may provide a novel therapeutic strategy for the treatment of ATC. The MMP-activated Anthrax Lethal Toxin (LeTx), a novel recombinant protein toxin combination, demonstrates potent MAPK pathway inhibition in gelatinase-expressing V600E B-Raf tumor cells in vitro. However, preliminary in vivo studies showed that the MMP-activated LeTx also exhibited dramatic anti-tumor activity against xenografts that did not show significant anti-proliferative responses to the LeTx in vitro. Here we show that the MMP-activated LeTx inhibits orthotopic ATC xenograft progression in both toxin-sensitive and resistant ATC cells via reduced endothelial cell recruitment and subsequent tumor vascularization. This in turn translates to an improved long-term survival that is comparable to that produced by the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib. Our results also indicate that therapy with the MMP-activated LeTx is extremely effective against advanced tumors with well-established vascular networks. Taken together, these results suggest that the MMP-activated LeTx-mediated endothelial cell targeting is the primary in vivo anti-tumor mechanism of this novel toxin. Therefore, the MMP-activated LeTx could be used not only in the clinical management of V600E B-Raf ATC, but potentially in any solid tumor.
Anaplastic thyroid carcinoma; anthrax lethal toxin; lethal factor; matrix metalloproteinase; protective antigen; tumor angiogenesis; vascular endothelial growth factor
Novel therapeutic regimens are needed to improve the dismal outcomes of patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC). Oncolytic herpes simplex virus have shown promising activity against human ATC. We studied the application of oncolytic herpes simplex virus (G207 and NV1023) in combination with currently used chemotherapeutic drugs (paclitaxel and doxorubicin) for the treatment of ATC.
Experimental Design and Results
All four agents showed dose-response cytotoxicity in vitro for the human ATC cell lines KAT4 and DRO90-1. G207, combined with paclitaxel, showed synergistic cytotoxicity. Chou-Talalay combination indices ranged from 0.56 to 0.66 for KAT4, and 0.68 to 0.74 for DRO90-1at higher affected fractions. Paclitaxel did not enhance G207 viral entry and early gene expression or G207 viral replication. Paclitaxel combined with G207 compared with single-agent treatment or controls showed significantly increased microtubule acetylation, mitotic arrest, aberrant chromatid separation, inhibition of metaphase to anaphase progression, and apoptosis. A single i.t. injection of G207 combined with biweekly i.p. paclitaxel injections in athymic nude mice bearing KAT4 flank tumors showed significantly reduced mean tumor volume (74 F 38 mm3) compared with G207 alone (388 F 109 mm3), paclitaxel alone (439 F 137 mm3), and control (520 F 160 mm3) groups at 16 days. There was no morbidity in vivo attributable to therapy.
Mechanisms of paclitaxel antitumoral activity, including microtubule acetylation, mitotic block, and apoptosis, were enhanced by G207, which also has direct oncolytic effects. Combination of G207 and paclitaxel therapy is synergistic in treating ATC and holds promise for patients with this fatal disease.
Background and Rationale: Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is characterized by pleomorphic cells, has a poor prognosis, is highly devastating disease, and is not curable. No reliable biomarkers of metastatic potential, helpful for early diagnosis of ATC and therapeutic response have been found yet. Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) plays a fundamental role in cancer progression by regulating cell stromal cross-talk in the tumor microenvironment.
Goals: Our goal was to understand whether TSP-1 could affect protein levels of its integrin receptors (e.g., ITGα3, α6, and β1) and cell morphology in BRAFV600E-ATC cells in vitro and in vivo.
Experimental Design: Anaplastic thyroid cancer-derived cell cultures and western blotting were used to assess integrin protein expression upon TSP-1 silencing. Immunohistochemistry was performed on orthotopic primary human ATC and metastatic ATC in lung tissue to compare TSP-1 and integrin protein expression levels.
Results: TSP-1 knock-down down-regulates ITGα3, α6, and β1 in BRAFV600E-human ATC cells. BRAFV600E-ATC cells with TSP-1 knock-down were rounded compared to control cells, which displayed a spread morphology. TSP-1 knock-down also reduced TSP-1, ITGα3, α6, and β1 protein expression levels in vivo in the ATC microenvironment, which is enriched in stromal and inflammatory cells.
Conclusion: TSP-1 silencing causes changes in ITG levels and ATC cell morphology. The assessment of TSP-1 and ITG levels might contribute to earlier metastatic potential of BRAFV600E-positive aggressive thyroid cancers, and allow improved patient selection for clinical trials.
BRAFV600E; integrins; thyroid cancer; microenvironment; extracellular matrix; TSP-1
Anaplastic thyroid cancer (ATC) is a rare malignancy. While external beam radiation therapy has improved locoregional control, the median survival of ∼ 4 months has not changed in more than half a century due to uncontrolled systemic metastases. The objective of this study was to review the literature in order to identify potential new strategies for treating this highly lethal cancer. PubMed searches were the principal source of articles reviewed. The molecular pathogenesis of ATC includes mutations in BRAF, RAS, catenin (cadherin-associated protein), beta 1, PIK3CA, TP53, AXIN1, PTEN, and APC genes, and chromosomal abnormalities are common. Several microarray studies have identified genes and pathways preferentially affected, and dysregulated microRNA profiles differ from differentiated thyroid cancers. Numerous proteins involving transcription factors, signaling pathways, mitosis, proliferation, cell cycle, apoptosis, adhesion, migration, epigenetics, and protein degradation are affected. A variety of agents have been successful in controlling ATC cell growth both in vitro and in nude mice xenografts. While many of these new compounds are in cancer clinical trials, there are few studies being conducted in ATC. With the recent increased knowledge of the many critical genes and proteins affected in ATC, and the extensive array of targeted therapies being developed for cancer patients, there are new opportunities to design clinical trials based upon tumor molecular profiling and preclinical studies of potentially synergistic combinatorial novel therapies.