Cabozantinib-induced thyroid dysfunction: A review of two ongoing trials for metastatic bladder cancer and sarcoma

Sahzene Yavuz, Andrea B. Apolo, Shivaani Kummar, Jaydira Del Rivero, Ravi A. Madan, Thomas Shawker, James Reynolds, Francesco S. Celi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Thyroid dysfunction is a common adverse event associated with tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI), but its underlying pathophysiology is unclear. Cabozantinib is a novel TKI currently Food and Drug Administration approved for advanced medullary thyroid cancer and tested in clinical trials on solid tumors including prostate, liver, bladder, breast, and ovarian cancer. Methods: We analyzed the thyroid function of patients enrolled in two phase 2 clinical trials using cabozantinib at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center. Two cases of thyroiditis associated with cabozantinib therapy are presented in detail, and a systematic review of the literature on TKI-associated thyroid dysfunction is also discussed. Results: Between September 2012 and September 2013, 33 patients were treated with cabozantinib, and follow-up thyroid function tests were available for 31 (20 males, 11 females; age 59±1 years). Thyroid dysfunction was recorded in the majority of patients (93.1%), with a predominance of subclinical hypothyroidism. Two cases showed a biphasic pattern of thyroid dysfunction characterized by a transient thyrotoxicosis followed by hypothyroidism. Color Doppler demonstrated an increase in vascularization during the thyrotoxic phase, but no uptake was visualized on nuclear medicine imaging. A systematic review of the literature resulted in the identification of 40 original manuscripts, of which 13 were case series and 6 were case reports describing TKI-associated thyroid dysfunction. Conclusion: TKI therapy often results in clinically significant thyroid dysfunction. Cabozantinib treatment commonly results in thyroid dysfunction varying from subclinical hypothyroidism to symptomatic thyrotoxicosis. Early detection and characterization of cabozantinib-associated thyroid dysfunction and close follow-up are essential to provide adequate management of this common adverse event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1223-1231
Number of pages9
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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