Targeted therapies interfere with the way that cancer cells grow. It is sometimes used to treat people with medullary thyroid cancer.

Targeted therapies interfere with the way that cancer cells grow.

The targeted therapy drugs cabozantanib (Cometriq®) and vandetanib (Caprelsa®) are sometimes used to treat people with medullary thyroid cancer that:

  • cannot be operated on
  • is causing symptoms
  • has spread.

Cabozantanib and vandetanib are types of drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) or multikinase inhibitors. They work by blocking signals in the thyroid cancer cells that make them grow and divide. Blocking the signals may make the cells die. These drugs do not cure the cancer, but they can slow down its growth and help with symptoms. Talk to your doctor about the possible benefits and side effects of this treatment.

If your cancer specialist thinks that a targeted therapy may be helpful, they will discuss this with you. But these drugs are not widely available on the NHS. Some people may have them as part of a clinical trial. If a drug is not available on the NHS, there may be different ways you can still have it. Your cancer doctor can give you advice. Your doctor will give you more information about these drugs if they are suitable for you.