Pharmaceutical News
Target treatment for thyroid cancer will be available under the NHI

Thyroid cancer is one of the top 10 most common cancers in Taiwan with 3000 new cases confirmed every year.  From next January, Sorafenib, a target drug for treating thyroid cancer, will be available under the NHI for locally advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer patients who have failed the radioactive iodine therapy.   About 100 patients will benefit from this new reimbursement policy.


According to the NHIA officials, thyroid cancer has a higher occurrence rate in Asia than in other regions.  Females are three times more likely than males to have thyroid cancer, especially for females aged between 20 and 40.  Among the 3000 new cases of thyroid cancer confirmed each year, 2000 are females.  The causes of thyroid cancer are still not clear.  It is predicted to be associated with gene mutation, environmental radiation and chemical pollution.


Huang Zhou-Jei, a section chief of the NHIA, expressed that surgical operation combined with radioactive iodine therapy is the most common treatment for thyroid cancer.  The treatment result is quite satisfactory; however, 20-30% of patients have a relapse 10 years after the operation.


There used to be only one treatment for relapse, i.e. the continued use of radioactive iodine therapy.  However, it is not effective for some patients.  Studies show that Sorafenib, a target treatment for renal cancer and lung cancer, can also be used for treating advanced thyroid cancer.


Huang continued that the NHIA recently included Sorafenib in the Pharmaceutical Benefit Scheme for treating locally advanced or metastatic thyroid cancer patients who have failed the radioactive iodine therapy.  A prior approval from the NHIA for using the treatment is essential.  Each successful application will be granted with at most three-month treatments.  Image information has to be submitted with the application.  If patients have ineffective treatment results or develop intolerable side effects, the treatment will be stopped.


【2016-12-14/ China Times】