Selpercatinib is in clinical development for the treatment of advanced thyroid cancer with RET alterations that includes RET-mutant medullary thyroid cancer (MTC) and RET-fusion-positive thyroid cancer. Thyroid cancer is a malignant neoplasm that originates from cells in the thyroid gland located in the front of the neck. Some types of thyroid cancer can have alterations (mutation or fusions) to the RET gene which leads to an overactive process that causes the cancer cells to grow uncontrolled. In the advanced stage, the primary treatment is extensive surgical resection which needs to be combined with systemic treatments such as chemotherapy and targeted therapies.
Selpercatinib is a first-in-class oral precision cancer medicine designed to selectively bind to cancers that harbour genetic abnormalities in the RET proteins. This binding inhibits the RET receptor signalling which in turn inhibits the tumour cell growth and may also prevent resistance to the treatment from developing. Selpercatinib is being developed for various RET-altered advanced thyroid cancers with early results indicating significantly improved outcomes. If licensed, selpercatinib will offer a treatment option for patients with advanced RET-mutant MTC and advanced RET fusion-positive thyroid cancer who have progressed following prior treatment and have no acceptable alternative treatment options.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.