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FDA Approves New Treatment for Rare Form of Thyroid Cancer
Date:4/6/2011

SILVER SPRING, Md., April 6, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved vandetanib to treat adult patients with late-stage (metastatic) medullary thyroid cancer who are ineligible for surgery and who have disease that is growing or causing symptoms.

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Thyroid cancer is a cancerous growth of the thyroid gland, which is located in the neck. Medullary thyroid cancer involves specific types of cells that are found in the thyroid gland and can occur spontaneously, or be part of a genetic syndrome.

About 44,600 new thyroid cancer cases were diagnosed in the United States during 2010, and about 1,690 people died from the disease, according to the National Cancer Institute. Medullary thyroid cancer is estimated to represent 3 to 5 percent of all thyroid cancer; its estimated incidence in the United States for 2010 is about 1,300 to 2,200 patients, making it one of the rarer forms of thyroid cancer.

Common symptoms of medullary thyroid cancer may include coughing, difficulty swallowing, enlargement of the thyroid gland, swelling of the neck, a lump on the thyroid, and changes in a person's voice or hoarseness.

Vandetanib targets medullary thyroid cancer's ability to grow and expand. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for this type of cancer. Vandetanib is administered orally on a daily basis.

Vandetanib's safety and effectiveness were established in a single, randomized international study of 331 patients with late-stage medullary thyroid cancer. Patients in the study were selected to receive vandetanib or placebo (sugar pill).

The study was designed to measure the length of time a patient lived without the individual's cancer progressing (progression-free survival). Patients who received vandetanib had a longer period of time without d
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SOURCE U.S. Food and Drug Administration
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