Skip to Content

Drug Duo, Tafinlar and Mekinist, Approved for Aggressive Thyroid Cancer

FRIDAY, May 4, 2018 -- Two anti-cancer drugs administered together have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat an inherited form of thyroid cancer.

Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) combined have been approved to treat anaplastic thyroid cancer caused by an abnormal BRAF V600E gene, the agency said Friday in a news release.

Anaplastic thyroid cancer is a rare, yet aggressive form of the disease. Almost 54,000 people will be diagnosed with thyroid cancer in the United States this year, and more than 2,000 will die from it, the National Institutes of Health estimates. Anaplastic thyroid cancer accounts for up to 2 percent of cases, the FDA said.

The same drug combination was approved previously to treat melanoma and non-small cell lung cancer caused by abnormalities of the same gene, the agency said.

Common side effects of the drug combination include: fever, rash, chills, headache, joint pain, cough, fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. More serious adverse reactions could include: development of new cancers, bleeding problems, heart problems, eye problems, skin reactions, high blood sugar, anemia and blood clots, the FDA said.

Since both drugs can harm a growing fetus, pregnant women and women who are expecting to become pregnant shouldn't take the therapy, the agency warned.

Both drugs are produced by the Swiss drugmaker Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

© 2020 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: May 2018

Read this next

Many Thyroid Cancer Ultrasound Scans Unnecessary

TUESDAY, Aug. 25, 2020 -- As many as one-third of doctors may be sending patients for a thyroid ultrasound for reasons not supported by guidelines, a new study finds. The use of...

FDA Approves Retevmo for Certain Lung, Thyroid Cancers

MONDAY, May 11, 2020 -- Retevmo (selpercatinib) capsules have been approved to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), and other...

America's Obesity Epidemic May Mean Some Cancers Are Striking Sooner

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 14, 2019 -- Since the turn of the century, American obesity rates have skyrocketed. And now a new study indicates that as the nation's waistlines expand, cancers...