Drugs Home > What Is Cabozantinib Used For?

If you have medullary thyroid cancer, you may receive cabozantinib. It is used for treating this type of cancer after it has spread to other areas of the body. The medication works by blocking a certain protein in the body that is responsible for the growth and division of cancer cells. It is approved for use in adults only.

An Overview of Uses for Cabozantinib

Cabozantinib (Cometriq™) is a prescription medication approved to treat medullary thyroid cancer that has progressed to other areas of the body (metastasized). Cabozantinib does not cure cancer, but may be able to slow down its progression.

Understanding Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front of the neck, beneath the voice box (larynx). It is an endocrine gland, which means it releases hormones into the bloodstream. The hormones made by the thyroid help regulate many of the activities in the body, including how fast your heart beats, your body temperature, how quickly you burn calories, and the level of calcium in your blood.
Thyroid cancer occurs in the cells of the thyroid gland. The two types of cells in the thyroid are follicular cells and C cells. Follicular cells make thyroid hormones, while C cells make a hormone known as calcitonin.
There are four main types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, anaplastic, and medullary. The types are based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope (see Types of Thyroid Cancer to learn more).
Medullary thyroid cancer begins in C cells. It accounts for 5 percent to 10 percent of thyroid cancer cases. Scientists do not know what causes medullary thyroid cancer. In some cases, it runs in families, while other times, it occurs without a family history.  
The treatment for medullary thyroid cancer usually involves surgery to remove the thyroid gland (known medically as a total thyroidectomy) and possibly the surrounding lymph nodes. Surgery is often quite successful when the cancer is confined to the thyroid.
Once the cancer has spread beyond the thyroid, however, it is more difficult to treat with surgery. In such cases, medications such as cabozantinib may be used to slow down the progression of the disease (see Thyroid Cancer Treatment or Thyroid Cancer Treatment By Stage).
In a clinical study, cabozantinib improved progression-free survival by about seven months. Progression-free survival is the length of time after treatment starts that the cancer does not get worse. In the study, people given cabozantinib had a median progression-free survival time of 11.2 months, while those given a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredient) had a progression-free survival time of 4 months.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
List of references (click here):
Other Articles in This eMedTV Presentation

Topics & Medications


Related Channels

eMedTV Links
Copyright © 2006-2020 Clinaero, Inc.

eMedTV serves only as an informational resource. This site does not dispense medical advice or advice of any kind. Site users seeking medical advice about their specific situation should consult with their own physician. Click Terms of Use for more information.

This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.