Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have shown clinical effectiveness in iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC). The corresponding role of serum thyroglobulin (Tg) in iodine-refractory DTC has not been investigated yet. 9 patients (3 female, 61 ± 8y) with progressive iodine-refractory DTC starting on lenvatinib were considered. Tumor restaging was performed every 2-3 months including contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT, RECIST 1.1). Serum Tg was measured and compared to imaging findings. After treatment initiation, serum Tg levels dropped in all patients with a median reduction of 86.2%. During long-term follow-up (median, 25.2 months), fluctuations in Tg could be observed in 8/9 subjects. According to RECIST, 6/9 subjects achieved a partial response or stable disease with the remaining 3/9 experiencing progressive disease (2/3 with Tg levels rising above baseline). All of the patients with disease progression presented with a preceding continuous rise in serum Tg, whereas tumor marker oscillations in the subjects with controlled disease were only intermittent. Initiation of lenvatinib in iodine-refractory DTC patients is associated with a significant reduction in serum Tg levels as a marker of treatment response. In the course of treatment, transient Tg oscillations are a frequent phenomenon that may not necessarily reflect morphologic tumor progression.
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