Abstract BACKGROUND: Experience with chemotherapeutic agents in the management of advanced medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC) is limited and controversial. However, since MTC is a neuroendocrine neoplasm, we considered the possibility that cytotoxic drugs previously used in the treatment of these tumours could also have activity in MTC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Five patients (4 females and 1 male, aged 22-71 years) with locally advanced or metastatic MTC received 5 day intravenous courses of dacarbazine (DTIC) (250 mg/sqm) and 12 hour infusion 5-fluorouracil (450 mg/sqm), given every 4 weeks. Six cycles were administered to 4 patients and four to 1 patient. RESULTS: Three partial responses lasting 9, 10+ and 8+ months were observed; one patient had stable disease and one progressive disease. Toxicity was acceptable with grade I thrombocytopenia and grade II leukopenia occurring in one patient, and grade II nausea and vomiting in four patients. CONCLUSIONS: In our experience, treatment of advanced thyroid carcinoma with DTIC and 5-FU appeared to have significant activity and was well tolerated.
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