Researchers have found that patients receiving sorafenib for differential thyroid cancer are more likely to experience adverse events from the drug, compared to patients with renal or hepatocellular cancers. The findings were published in JAMA Oncology.

Sorafenib is a kinase inhibitor used to treat unresectable hepatocellular cancer, advanced renal cell cancer, and locally recurrent or metastatic, progressive, differentiated thyroid cancer refractory to radioactive iodine. Researchers analyzed data from randomized trials, observational studies, case reports or case series, and review articles to describe the frequency and etiology of selected adverse events with sorafenib in patients with thyroid cancer.

They found higher rates of hand-foot skin reaction, diarrhea, and hypertension in patients with thyroid cancer versus the other two cancers. The researchers could not determine why the adverse events had increased frequency with thyroid cancer but hypothesized that it may be because patients with thyroid cancer take the drug much longer, sometimes twice as long as patients with kidney or liver cancers.