MAY 13, 2020 5:48 PM PDT

Approved Treatment for RET-mutant Cancers

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A drug was recently approved for treating three types of RET-mutant cancers: 1) non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) 2) advanced or metastatic RET-mutant medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) that may require systemic therapy and 3) advanced or metastatic RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer who require systemic therapy and who are radioactive iodine-refractory (if radioactive iodine is appropriate).

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The FDA-approved drug by Eli Lily and Company is Retevmo™ (selpercatinib, 40 mg & 80 mg capsules) which came after findings of a LIBRETTO-001 clinical trial.

"In the clinical trial, we observed that the majority of metastatic lung cancer patients experienced clinically meaningful responses when treated with selpercatinib, including responses in difficult-to-treat brain metastases," said Alexander Drilon, M.D., acting chief of early drug development at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and lead investigator for LIBRETTO-001. "The approval of selpercatinib marks an important milestone in the treatment of NSCLC, making RET-driven cancers now specifically targetable in the same manner as cancers with activating EGFR and ALK alterations, across all lines of therapy. I am pleased that patients with these RET-driven cancers have this newly approved option."

Retevmo is an oral prescriptive medication that works as a selective RET kinase inhibitor and may target both tumor cells and healthy cells.

"RET alterations account for the majority of medullary thyroid cancers and a meaningful percentage of other thyroid cancers. For patients living with these cancers, the approval of selpercatinib means they now have a treatment option that selectively and potently inhibits RET," said Lori J. Wirth, M.D., medical director of head and neck cancers, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. "Based on the published data for this new medicine, as well as my personal experience treating patients, this may be a good treatment option."

Source: Eli Lilly

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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