Clinical Trials /

Pioglitazone in Thyroid Cancers



Through this trial the investigators hope to learn if a drug, Actos (pioglitazone), is useful in treating a certain kind of metastatic thyroid cancer. Actos is approved by the FDA to treat diabetes. It has not been approved by the FDA to treat cancer, so its use in this study is considered experimental.

Related Conditions:
  • Thyroid Gland Carcinoma
Recruiting Status:



Phase 2

Trial Eligibility



  • Brief Title: Pioglitazone in Thyroid Cancers
  • Official Title: Phase 2 Study of Pioglitazone in Thyroid Cancers That Contain the PAX8-PPARgamma Fusion Gene

Clinical Trial IDs

  • ORG STUDY ID: 2011.097
  • SECONDARY ID: R01CA166033
  • NCT ID: NCT01655719


  • Thyroid Cancers That Contain the PAX8-PPARgamma Fusion Gene


PioglitazoneActosPioglitazone Treatment


Through this trial the investigators hope to learn if a drug, Actos (pioglitazone), is useful in treating a certain kind of metastatic thyroid cancer. Actos is approved by the FDA to treat diabetes. It has not been approved by the FDA to treat cancer, so its use in this study is considered experimental.

Trial Arms

Pioglitazone TreatmentExperimentalIf eligible, subjects can participate in 1 or both parts of this study as follows: Part 1: In the initial main portion of the study subjects will receive 24 -28 weeks of therapy with pioglitazone at the dosage approved for the control of diabetes. Response will be evaluated per RECIST. Safety measure are outlined in the protocol including weekly weigh ins, calls, labs, exams, etc. Part 2: A secondary protocol is then available to subjects who complete the main initial study with less than complete response per RECIST. They can undergo a radioiodine scan to see if the treatment with pioglitazone has sensitized their disease to radioiodine. If it has - they can pursue the radioiodine treatment.
  • Pioglitazone

Eligibility Criteria

        Inclusion Criteria:

          1. Patients must have histologically confirmed thyroid carcinoma with the PAX8-PPARgamma
             translocation (translocation testing will be performed on archived tissue during the
             screening period).

             Refractory to radioactive iodine (RAI) as defined by: the tumor does not concentrate
             RAI; or the patient has had RAI within the last 16 months and has had progression
             despite that RAI; or the last RAI treatment was >16 months ago and the patient
             progressed after at least two RAI treatments; or the patient has received RAI
             treatments with a cumulative RAI dose of ≥22.2 GBq (600 mCi)

             Not a candidate for surgery or RAI therapy with curative intent.

             Lesions that would be treated by external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) based on
             standard of care can be so treated, but then cannot be used as target lesions.

          2. Measurable disease by RECIST 1.1 criteria.

          3. Documented disease progression by RECIST 1.1 in the past 14 months.

          4. Availability of histological material (primary tumor or metastases) for review of the
             diagnosis and demonstration of PAX8-PPARgamma fusion gene.

          5. Adequate TSH suppression (<0.5 mIU/L)

          6. Prior chemotherapy or surgery must have been completed at least 28 days prior to
             registration, and all toxicities must have resolved.

          7. Prior radioactive iodine must have been completed at least 6 months prior to
             registration, or there must be documented disease progression since such therapy if it
             was within 6 months. Sites that have received EBRT must have disease progression
             post-EBRT to be used as sites of measurable disease.

          8. Life expectancy of greater than 6 months.

          9. ECOG performance status 2 or less.

         10. Patients must have normal organ function as defined below:

             AST(SGOT)/ALT(SGPT) less than 2.5 X institutional upper limit of normal (within 1
             month of study Day 1)

         11. Patients must be able to consume oral medications.

         12. Women of childbearing potential must have a negative pregnancy test at baseline prior
             to receiving any study drug and must practice effective contraception while on study.
             (Pregnant or lactating patients are excluded).

         13. All patients must sign an informed consent prior to enrollment.

        Exclusion Criteria:

          1. Patients may not be receiving any other investigational agents.

          2. Patients with known untreated brain metastases.

          3. History of allergic reactions attributed to compounds of similar chemical or biologic
             composition to pioglitazone.

          4. Diagnosis of diabetes mellitus or current therapy with any drugs used to treat
             diabetes mellitus, including but not limited to insulin, sulfonylureas, metformin,
             rosiglitazone (Avandia), and pioglitazone (Actos) within 14 days of study Day 1

          5. Therapy with rosiglitazone (Avandia) or pioglitazone (Actos) at any time since the
             diagnosis of thyroid cancer.

          6. Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to, ongoing or active
             infection, congestive heart failure, unstable angina pectoris, or cardiac arrhythmias.

          7. Pregnant women are excluded from this study because pioglitazone is a U.S. Food and
             Drug Administration Pregnancy Category C drug. Because there is an unknown but
             potential risk for adverse events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the
             mother with pioglitazone, breastfeeding should be discontinued if the mother is
             treated with pioglitazone.

          8. No concurrent radiotherapy or chemotherapy may be given to the patient during the
             administration of the study drug.

          9. Patients with uncontrolled malabsorption syndromes.

         10. Patients with a history of congestive heart failure of any New York Heart Association

         11. Any medical or psychiatric illness which, in the opinion of the principal
             investigator, would compromise the patient's ability to tolerate this treatment

         12. Use of rifampin (strong CYP2C8 inducer) within 14 days of study Day 1.

         13. Other current malignancy than the disease under study.

         14. Grade 2 or worse edema within 14 days of study Day 1, per CTCAE v4.
Maximum Eligible Age:N/A
Minimum Eligible Age:18 Years
Eligible Gender:All
Healthy Volunteers:No

Primary Outcome Measures

Measure:Tumor Response (Change)
Time Frame:Baseline and 24 weeks
Safety Issue:
Description:Response is measured by change in Tumor size (cm)

Secondary Outcome Measures

Measure:Change in Serum Thyroglobulin
Time Frame:Baseline and 24 weeks
Safety Issue:
Description:Determine if pioglitazone decreases serum thyroglobulin in patients with follicular-patterned thyroid carcinomas that contain the PAX8-PPARgamma fusion gene.
Time Frame:24 weeks
Safety Issue:
Description:Toxicities experienced by patients with PAX8-PPARgamma fusion gene-positive follicular-patterned thyroid carcinomas treated with pioglitazone are indicated by presence of Serious Adverse Events (that show relatedness).


Phase:Phase 2
Primary Purpose:Interventional
Overall Status:Completed
Lead Sponsor:University of Michigan

Last Updated

October 26, 2017