Sunitinib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor capable of inhibiting tumor growth and slowing down the progression of metastatic cancers.
Investigators wished to determine the potential activity of sunitinib for the treatment of advanced thymic epithelial tumors, including thymoma and thymic carcinoma, which are rare and aggressive forms of tumors on the outside surface of the thymus gland.
Investigators conducted an open-label phase II study, evaluating patients with chemotherapy-refractory thymic epithelial tumors. There were 41 patients enrolled in the study, in which 25 patients had thymic carcinoma and 16 patients had thymoma carcinoma.
All participants received sunitinib 50mg oral tablets taken once daily in 6-week cycles until further progression or toxic adverse effects occurred. The primary endpoint of the study was to see best tumor response at any point, assessed by the investigators.
Of the 23 patients with thymic carcinoma, 21 patients (91%) achieved disease control, of which six (26%, 90% CI 12.1–45.3, 95% CI 10.2–48.4) had partial responses and 15 (65%, 95% CI 42.7–83.6) achieved stable disease. Of the 16 patients with thymoma carcinoma, 13 patients (81%) achieved disease control, of which one (6%, 95% CI 0.2–30.2) had a partial response and 12 (75%, 47.6–92.7) had stable disease.
The results of the study demonstrated that sunitinib is an effective treatment for thymic carcinoma; however, investigators conclude that further studies need to be conducted to identify sunitinib’s potential biomarkers of activity.
The authors investigated the activity of sunitinib, an orally administered tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Sunitinib is active in previously treated patients with thymic carcinoma. Further studies are needed to identify potential biomarkers of activity.