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.
Durvalumab is in development for patients with advanced/metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) who are EGFR/ALK wild-type and whose tumours have a high PD-L1 expression. NSCLC makes up the majority of lung cancers in the UK. Advanced/metastatic (Stage IV) NSCLC is when the cancer has spread beyond the lung which was initially affected, most often to the liver, the adrenal glands, the bones and the brain. Most patients with NSCLC are diagnosed at the advanced/metastatic stage where curative treatment with surgery is unsuitable. Currently, chemotherapy remains the first line treatment option but this is often not well tolerated by many patients.