About radiolabelled therapies for medullary thyroid cancer

This treatment uses a radioactive substance, which is attached to a particular type of chemical, to destroy the cancer. It is most likely to be used as part of a clinical trial.

After treatment you will need to have regular blood tests for at least a few weeks. Your specialist will explain more about the treatment, if it is suitable for you.

MIBG (meta-iodobenzylguanidine)

Some medullary thyroid cancers absorb large amounts of certain chemicals. MIBG is one of these chemicals. To treat these tumours, MIBG can be attached to a radioactive substance. You are given the MIBG, and as the cancer absorbs the chemical, it also absorbs the radioactivity. This will destroy cancer cells.

You will have a scan that uses a tiny amount of radioactive substance. It tests whether the tumour absorbs a large amount of these chemicals. If it does, you will have the treatment using a higher dose of the radioactive substance.

MIBG is given as a drip into a vein (intravenous infusion). You have it in a specialist ward. You will need to be looked after in a room by yourself for a few days. This is so that other people are not exposed to the radioactivity. You will be radioactive for a little time after going home. Your medical team will advise you on avoiding long and close contact with people. They will give you all the advice you need.

PRRT (peptide receptor radionuclide therapy)

PRRT treatment is similar to MIBG. It is also given by drip into a vein and you will need to be looked after in a room on your own. But you will usually be in hospital for only 1 to 2 days.

How we can help

Macmillan Grants

If you have cancer, you may be able to get a Macmillan Grant to help with the extra costs of cancer. Find out who can apply and how to access our grants.

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