A healthcare provider may prescribe Cometriq to treat a certain type of cancer called medullary thyroid cancer. This prescription drug is specifically approved for use in adults when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. Studies have shown that those who use Cometriq may be able to extend the time before the cancer becomes worse by about seven months on average.
What Is Cometriq Used For?
Cometriq™ (cabozantinib) is a prescription medication approved to treat medullary thyroid cancer that has progressed to other areas of the body. Cometriq 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 for more information).
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, the disease 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.
In a clinical study, Cometriq 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 Cometriq 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: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Cometriq [package insert]. South San Francisco, CA: Exelixis;2012 November.
National Cancer Institute. Medullary thyroid cancer (February 13, 2013). NCI Web site. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/thyroid/HealthProfessional/page7. Accessed April 25, 2013.
Schoenstadt, A. Thyroid cancer (July 9, 2008). eMedTV Web site. Available at: http://cancer.emedtv.com/thyroid-cancer/thyroid-cancer.html. Accessed April 25, 2013.
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