Lenvatinib (Lenvima) for the treatment of advanced thyroid cancer

Introduction

Lenvatinib (trade name: Lenvima) has been approved in Germany since May 2015 for the treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis) or is locally advanced in adults. This medication is an option if the cancer progresses despite radioiodine therapy.

If a malignant tumor is found in the thyroid gland, the tumor or the entire thyroid gland is surgically removed. But sometimes surgery is no longer possible because the tumor is already too large or has spread to other parts of the body (metastasis). This is known as advanced cancer.

In differentiated thyroid cancer, the cancer cells are still similar to the original thyroid tissue. This means that the cancer cells absorb iodine, so radioiodine therapy is an option. Most types of thyroid cancer are differentiated cancer.

The drug lenvatinib inhibits certain proteins (enzymes) in order to prevent further tumor growth.

Application

Lenvatinib is taken once a day in the form of a capsule.

The recommended dose is 24 mg. Lenvatinib is available in 10 and 4 mg capsules.

If severe side effects occur, the dose can be adjusted or treatment with lenvatinib can be interrupted temporarily or stopped.

Other treatments

The standard treatment option for progressive, locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer is sorafenib.

Assessment

In 2019, the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) looked into whether lenvatinib has any advantages or disadvantages compared with the standard treatment sorafenib for progressive, locally advanced or metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer.

But the manufacturer didn’t provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment.

More information

This information summarizes the main results of a review produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The review was commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the review and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of lenvatinib (Lenvima).

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). Lenvatinib (thyroid carcinoma) – Benefit assessment according to §35a Social Code Book V. Dossier assessment; Commission A19-19. May 13, 2019. (IQWiG Reports; Volume 769).

IQWiG health information is written with the aim of helping people understand the advantages and disadvantages of the main treatment options and health care services.

Because IQWiG is a German institute, some of the information provided here is specific to the German health care system. The suitability of any of the described options in an individual case can be determined by talking to a doctor. informedhealth.org can provide support for talks with doctors and other medical professionals, but cannot replace them. We do not offer individual consultations.

Our information is based on the results of good-quality studies. It is written by a team of health care professionals, scientists and editors, and reviewed by external experts. You can find a detailed description of how our health information is produced and updated in our methods.

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Created on June 6, 2019
Next planned update: 2022

Authors/Publishers:

Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany)

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