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Mimi I Hu, Rossella Elisei, Marek Dedecjus, Aron Popovtzer, Maralyn Druce, Ellen Kapiteijn, Furio Pacini, Laura Locati, Jolanta Krajewska, Richard Weiss and Robert F Gagel

Vandetanib is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for treatment of advanced symptomatic or progressive medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). The current study (Nbib1496313) evaluated the benefit–risk of two starting doses of vandetanib in patients with symptomatic or progressive MTC. Patients were randomized 1:1 to receive vandetanib 150 or 300 mg daily and followed for a maximum of 14 months (Part A), with the option to then enter an open-label phase (Part B) investigating vandetanib 100, 150, 200 and 300 mg daily doses. Efficacy was assessed in Part A, and safety and tolerability during Parts A and B up to 2 years post randomization. Eighty-one patients were randomized in Part A and 61 patients entered Part B, of whom 37 (60.7%) received 2 years of treatment. Overall, 25% of patients experienced an objective response (OR) at 14 months (OR rate, 0.29 (95% CI, 0.176–0.445) for 300 mg, and 0.20 (95% CI, 0.105–0.348) for 150 mg; one-sided P value approximately 0.43). The most common adverse events (AEs) included diarrhea, hypocalcemia, asthenia, QTc prolongation, hypokalemia and keratopathy, all at generally higher incidence with 300 vs 150 mg (Part A). Part B safety and tolerability was consistent with Part A. OR was observed with both vandetanib doses; the 300 mg dose showed a more favorable trend vs 150 mg as initial dose. Thus, for most patients, 300 mg vandetanib is the most appropriate starting dose; dose reductions to manage AEs and lower initial doses for patients with particular comorbidities can be considered.

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Paola Romeo, Carla Colombo, Roberta Granata, Giuseppina Calareso, Ambra Vittoria Gualeni, Matteo Dugo, Loris De Cecco, Maria Grazia Rizzetti, Angela Zanframundo, Antonella Aiello, Maria Luisa Carcangiu, Annunziata Gloghini, Stefano Ferrero, Lisa Licitra, Angela Greco, Laura Fugazzola, Laura Deborah Locati and Maria Grazia Borrello

This study aimed to identify circulating miRNAs as novel non-invasive biomarkers for prognosis and vandetanib response in advanced medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) patients. We prospectively recruited two independent cohorts of locally advanced/metastatic MTC patients including a subgroup of vandetanib-treated subjects: a discovery cohort (n = 20), including matched plasma/tissue samples (n = 17/20), and a validation cohort, yielding only plasma samples (n = 17). Plasma samples from healthy subjects (n = 36) and MTC patients in remission (n = 9) were used as controls. MTC (n = 17 from 8 patients included in discovery cohort) and non-neoplastic thyroid specimens (n = 3) were assessed by microarray profiling to identify candidate circulating miRNAs. qRT-PCR and in situ hybridization were carried out to validate the expression and localization of a selected miRNA within tissues, and qRT-PCR was also performed to measure miRNA levels in plasma samples. By microarray analysis, we identified 51 miRNAs differentially expressed in MTC. The most overexpressed miR, miR-375, was highly expressed by C cells compared to other thyroid cells, and more expressed in MTC than in reactive C-cell hyperplasia. MTC patients had significantly higher miR-375 plasma levels than healthy controls (P < 0.0001) and subjects in remission (P = 0.0004) as demonstrated by qRT-PCR analysis. miR-375 plasma levels were not predictive of vandetanib response, but, notably, high levels were associated with significantly reduced overall survival (HR 10.61, P < 0.0001) and were a strong prognostic factor of poor prognosis (HR 6.24, P = 0.00025) in MTC patients. Overall, our results unveil plasma miR-375 as a promising prognostic marker for advanced MTC patients, to be validated in larger cohorts.

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Susanne Singer, Susan Jordan, Laura D Locati, Monica Pinto, Iwona M Tomaszewska, Cláudia Araújo, Eva Hammerlid, E Vidhubala, Olga Husson, Naomi Kiyota, Christine Brannan, Dina Salem, Eva M Gamper, Juan Ignacio Arraras, Georgios Ioannidis, Guy Andry, Johanna Inhestern, Vincent Grégoire, Lisa Licitra and on behalf of the EORTC Quality of Life Group, the EORTC Head and Neck Cancer Group, and the EORTC Endocrine Task Force

The purpose of the study was to pilot-test a questionnaire measuring health-related quality of life (QoL) in thyroid cancer patients to be used with the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) core questionnaire EORTC QLQ-C30. A provisional questionnaire with 47 items was administered to patients treated for thyroid cancer within the last 2 years. Patients were interviewed about time and help needed to complete the questionnaire, and whether they found the items understandable, confusing or annoying. Items were kept in the questionnaire if they fulfilled pre-defined criteria: relevant to the patients, easy to understand, not confusing, few missing values, neither floor nor ceiling effects, and high variance. A total of 182 thyroid cancer patients in 15 countries participated (n = 115 with papillary, n = 31 with follicular, n = 22 with medullary, n = 6 with anaplastic, and n = 8 with other types of thyroid cancer). Sixty-six percent of the patients needed 15 min or less to complete the questionnaire. Of the 47 items, 31 fulfilled the predefined criteria and were kept unchanged, 14 were removed, and 2 were changed. Shoulder dysfunction was mentioned by 5 patients as missing and an item covering this issue was added. To conclude, the EORTC quality of life module for thyroid cancer (EORTC QLQ-THY34) is ready for the final validation phase IV.