Thyroid cancer is a rare but serious disease and is the most common endocrine malignancy. Worldwide there were more than 567,000 new cases of thyroid cancer annually (and over 41,000 people are estimated to die from the disease per year).
Papillary, follicular and Hürthle cell types of thyroid cancer are classified as differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) and account for approximately 94 percent of all thyroid cancers.1
Thyroid cancer is typically found as palpable nodules in the thyroid. These nodules do not produce thyroid hormones. There are three major groups of thyroid cancers based on the origin of the tumor cells and the tumor’s clinical behavior. Treatment of thyroid cancer differs between these types but almost always includes surgical removal of part of or the entire thyroid gland. After surgery, in many but not all patients, the remaining thyroid tissue can be destroyed via radioactive-iodine therapy in differentiated thyroid cancer.
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While the majority of differentiated thyroid cancers are treatable, RAI-refractory locally advanced or metastatic disease is more difficult to treat and is associated with a lower patient survival rate. In thyroid cancer of follicular origin, 5–10% of cases will develop metastatic disease. Around 60–70% of these metastatic cases will become RAI-refractory. To date, RAI-refractory patients have only had a life expectancy of 3-5 years2. Further, only 10 percent of RAI-refractory patients survive 10 years after diagnosis, versus 60 percent of patients who do respond to RAI therapy3. Chemotherapy has low response/survival rates and significant toxicity in RAI-refractory patients, leaving them in need of new treatment options. With the entrance of ewer precision oncology treatments, some of the thyroid cancer cases can now also be treated based on their specific genomic alteration.
Bayer has a targeted treatment which is approved in many countries around the world, including the U.S., Japan and countries of the European Union, for the treatment of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer.
Bayer also has a precision oncology treatment approved in the U.S., the EU, Brazil and Canada for the treatment of solid tumors with particular alteration in the tumor’s genome , which occurs in up to one quarter or all thyroid cancer cases.
1 SEER Stat Fact Sheet: Thyroid Cancer. National Cancer Institute Website. 2014. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/thyro.html. Accessed January 2019.
2 Fugazzola L, Elisei R, Fuhrer D, et al. Guidelines for the Treatment and Follow-Up of Advanced Radioiodine-Refractory Thyroid Cancer European Thyroid Association.. Eur Thyroid J 2019;8:227-245. doi: 10.1159/000502229
3 The Endocrine Society. Thyroid Cancer and Radioiodine. 2012. http://endocrinenews.endocrine.org/wp-content/uploads/Endo_News1012F.pdf. Accessed January 2019.