Optimisation of treatment with lenvatinib in radioactive iodine-refractory differentiated thyroid cancer

Cancer Treat Rev. 2018 Sep:69:164-176. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2018.06.019. Epub 2018 Jul 2.


Lenvatinib has been approved for the treatment of advanced differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) refractory to radioactive iodine (RAI) following the results of the SELECT trial which demonstrated a significant increase in progression-free survival and a high response rates. The data reported for lenvatinib in RAI-refractory DTC (RAI-R DTC) are the most significant to date in this patient population, with a RECIST objective response rate above 60% and almost 80% reduction in the risk of disease progression. Because the first indication in oncology for lenvatinib is specifically in RAI-R DTC, a period of familiarisation with its safety and efficacy profile is required. This review includes a series of specific recommendations for optimising the management of RAI-R DTC with lenvatinib, as well as specific guidelines for minimising the incidence and severity of adverse events (AEs), which enable dose intensity to be increased and this way maximise the benefits of the drug in the patient population treated. These recommendations were defined at a meeting of experts of different specialities, reviewing available scientific evidence on the drug, as well as their own direct personal experience in daily clinical practice. For toxicity to be properly managed, a multidisciplinary approach is required in which the different medical services, nursing staff and the patient and their careers are all involved. It is essential to assess the suitability of patients who are candidates for lenvatinib, as well as their clinical and physiological status prior to treatment. They must then be closely monitored to prevent and detect possible AEs. The main objective should be to maintain the dose that obtains the maximum therapeutic effect, discontinuing the treatment only if the toxicity becomes unmanageable or there is no clinical benefit.

Keywords: Adverse events; Hypertension; Lenvatinib; Patient Safety; Protein kinase inhibitors; Proteinuria; Thyroid neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / radiotherapy
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Iodine Radioisotopes / adverse effects*
  • Phenylurea Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Prognosis
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Quinolines / therapeutic use*
  • Radiation Tolerance / drug effects*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / pathology
  • Thyroid Neoplasms / radiotherapy


  • Iodine Radioisotopes
  • Phenylurea Compounds
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinolines
  • lenvatinib