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      Signaling Pathways in Thyroid Cancer and Their Therapeutic Implications

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          Abstract

          Thyroid cancer is a common malignancy of endocrine system, and has now become the fastest increasing cancer among all the malignancies. The development, progression, invasion, and metastasis are closely associated with multiple signaling pathways and the functions of related molecules, such as Src, Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt, NF-κB, thyroid stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR), Wnt-β-catenin and Notch signaling pathways. Each of the signaling pathways could exert its function singly or through network with other pathways. These pathways could cooperate, promote, antagonize, or interact with each other to form a complex network for the regulation. Dysfunction of this network could increase the development, progression, invasion, and metastasis of thyroid cancer. Inoperable thyroid cancer still has a poor prognosis. However, signaling pathway-related targeted therapies offer the hope of longer quality of meaningful life for this small group of patients. Signaling pathway-related targets provide unprecedented opportunities for further research and clinical development of novel treatment strategies for this cancer. In the present work, the advances in these signaling pathways and targeted treatments of thyroid cancer were reviewed.

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          Most cited references 149

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          Vandetanib in patients with locally advanced or metastatic medullary thyroid cancer: a randomized, double-blind phase III trial.

          There is no effective therapy for patients with advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). Vandetanib, a once-daily oral inhibitor of RET kinase, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, and epidermal growth factor receptor signaling, has previously shown antitumor activity in a phase II study of patients with advanced hereditary MTC. Patients with advanced MTC were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to receive vandetanib 300 mg/d or placebo. On objective disease progression, patients could elect to receive open-label vandetanib. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS), determined by independent central Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) assessments. Between December 2006 and November 2007, 331 patients (mean age, 52 years; 90% sporadic; 95% metastatic) were randomly assigned to receive vandetanib (231) or placebo (100). At data cutoff (July 2009; median follow-up, 24 months), 37% of patients had progressed and 15% had died. The study met its primary objective of PFS prolongation with vandetanib versus placebo (hazard ratio [HR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.31 to 0.69; P < .001). Statistically significant advantages for vandetanib were also seen for objective response rate (P < .001), disease control rate (P = .001), and biochemical response (P < .001). Overall survival data were immature at data cutoff (HR, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.48 to 1.65). A final survival analysis will take place when 50% of the patients have died. Common adverse events (any grade) occurred more frequently with vandetanib compared with placebo, including diarrhea (56% v 26%), rash (45% v 11%), nausea (33% v 16%), hypertension (32% v 5%), and headache (26% v 9%). Vandetanib demonstrated therapeutic efficacy in a phase III trial of patients with advanced MTC (ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00410761).
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            Cabozantinib in progressive medullary thyroid cancer.

            Cabozantinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) of hepatocyte growth factor receptor (MET), vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, and rearranged during transfection (RET), demonstrated clinical activity in patients with medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) in phase I. We conducted a double-blind, phase III trial comparing cabozantinib with placebo in 330 patients with documented radiographic progression of metastatic MTC. Patients were randomly assigned (2:1) to cabozantinib (140 mg per day) or placebo. The primary end point was progression-free survival (PFS). Additional outcome measures included tumor response rate, overall survival, and safety. The estimated median PFS was 11.2 months for cabozantinib versus 4.0 months for placebo (hazard ratio, 0.28; 95% CI, 0.19 to 0.40; P < .001). Prolonged PFS with cabozantinib was observed across all subgroups including by age, prior TKI treatment, and RET mutation status (hereditary or sporadic). Response rate was 28% for cabozantinib and 0% for placebo; responses were seen regardless of RET mutation status. Kaplan-Meier estimates of patients alive and progression-free at 1 year are 47.3% for cabozantinib and 7.2% for placebo. Common cabozantinib-associated adverse events included diarrhea, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia, decreased weight and appetite, nausea, and fatigue and resulted in dose reductions in 79% and holds in 65% of patients. Adverse events led to treatment discontinuation in 16% of cabozantinib-treated patients and in 8% of placebo-treated patients. Cabozantinib (140 mg per day) achieved a statistically significant improvement of PFS in patients with progressive metastatic MTC and represents an important new treatment option for patients with this rare disease. This dose of cabozantinib was associated with significant but manageable toxicity.
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              BRAF mutation in papillary thyroid cancer: pathogenic role, molecular bases, and clinical implications.

               Mingzhao Xing (2007)
              In recent years, the T1799A B-type Raf kinase (BRAF) mutation in thyroid cancer has received enthusiastic investigation, and significant progress has been made toward understanding its tumorigenic role and clinical significance. Among various thyroid tumors, this mutation occurs uniquely in papillary thyroid cancer (PTC), the most common endocrine malignancy, and some apparently PTC-derived anaplastic thyroid cancers. Many studies have found this mutation to be associated with those clinicopathological characteristics of PTC that are conventionally known to predict tumor progression and recurrence, including, for example, old patient age, extrathyroidal invasion, lymph node metastasis, and advanced tumor stages. Direct association of BRAF mutation with the clinical progression, recurrence, and treatment failure of PTC has also been demonstrated. The BRAF mutation has even been correlated with PTC recurrence in patients with conventionally low-risk clinicopathological factors. Some molecular mechanisms determining BRAF mutation-promoted progression and the aggressiveness of PTC have recently been uncovered. These include the down-regulation of major tumor suppressor genes and thyroid iodide-metabolizing genes and the up-regulation of cancer-promoting molecules, such as vascular endothelial growth factor, matrix metalloproteinases, nuclear transcription factor kappaB, and c-Met. Thus, BRAF mutation represents a novel indicator of the progression and aggressiveness of PTC. Significant advances have also occurred in the preclinical testing of new therapeutic strategies targeting the MAPK pathway aberrantly activated by BRAF mutation and other related mutations. New mitogen extracellular kinase (MEK) inhibitors developed recently are particularly promising therapeutic agents for thyroid cancer. With these advances, it has become clearer that BRAF mutation will likely have significant impact on the clinical management of PTC.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Clin Med Res
                J Clin Med Res
                Elmer Press
                Journal of Clinical Medicine Research
                Elmer Press
                1918-3003
                1918-3011
                April 2016
                27 February 2016
                : 8
                : 4
                : 284-296
                Affiliations
                [a ]Department of General Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical University, Hohhot 010050, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China
                Author notes
                [b ]Corresponding Author: Shan Jin, Department of General Surgery, Affiliated Hospital of Inner Mongolia Medical University, Tongdao North Rd 1, Hohhot 010050, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China. Email: jinshangood@ 123456163.com
                Article
                10.14740/jocmr2480w
                4780491
                26985248
                Copyright 2016, Jin et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Medicine

                thyroid cancer, signaling pathway, targeted therapy

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