Lenvatinib May Up Survival in Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer

Patricia McKnight

February 22, 2023

The study covered in this summary was published on Research Square as a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.

Key Takeaway

Why This Matters

  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare thyroid malignancy; disease-specific mortality approaches 100%. Lenvatinib represents a promising treatment option for patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer and appears to improve patients' average overall survival by almost 4 months.

Study Design

  • A single-institution study evaluated 81 patients at the Kanagawa Cancer Center in Japan from April 1, 2011, to July 31, 2022.

  • Eligible patients were at least 20 years of age, had at least one measurable target lesion, and had pathologically confirmed anaplastic thyroid cancer.

  • Among the 56 patients with anaplastic thyroid cancer with unresectable primary thyroid tumors, 36 patients were treated with lenvatinib, 12 were given weekly paclitaxel (PTX), and eight refused drug treatment and received best supportive care.

  • Among the initial 81 patients evaluated at Kanagawa Cancer Center, 25 were excluded from the study for various reasons.

Key Results

  • Overall, only two patients were still alive at the time of study publication; 54 had died.

  • Survival was significantly longer in the lenvatinib group, averaging 5.8 months ( P =.004) compared with 1.98 in the PTX group and 1.2 months in the best supportive care group.

  • Median overall survival was 4.77 months in the lenvatinib group, vs and 2.07 months in the PTX group ( P =.0000163).

  • About 33% of patients in the lenvatinib arm had a partial response; median progression-free survival was 3.5 months. In the PTX group, 0% of patients had a partial response.

  • The most common adverse event was hypertension, which occurred in 29 (80.6%) patients; there were no adverse events of grade 3 or higher that would interfere with continued treatment.


  • The study was not a randomized trial.


  • No funding was reported for the study. The researchers declared no competing interests.

This is a summary of a preprint research study, "Outcome of Initial Lenvatinib Treatment in Patients With Unresectable Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer." The study was published as a preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The full text can be found at researchsquare.com.

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