The drug Pioglitazone (Actos) is being used in a clinical trial for thyroid cancers that contain a specific mutation called PAX8-PPARgamma. PAX8-PPARgamma is uncommon, but is found in some thyroid cancers of the following types: follicular; follicular variant of papillary; and poorly differentiated.

An exciting aspect of this trial is that pioglitazone has few if any side effects, and in fact it is FDA-approved for the long term therapy of diabetes. The only potentially significant side effects are mild fluid retention and mild weight gain. The drug is specific for PAX8-PPARgamma and is not expected to work in other thyroid cancers.

The clinical trial investigators will test the patients’ original tumor specimens for PAX8-PPARgamma. The thyroid cancer must be progressing and not treatable by surgery or radioiodine.

There are 5 participating sites: University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), U Colorado (Denver), Ohio State U (Columbus), MD Anderson (Houston), and U Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). The principal investigator is Ronald Koenig, MD, PhD, University of Michigan.

The trial requires 3 visits to a participating site over 6 months. Patient travel money is available.

Additional information about the trial is available at clinicaltrials.gov:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01655719?term=NCT01655719&rank=1

If you are interested in participating please contact: Timothy Muth, 734-615-8914, tmuth@med.umich.edu.