People who have medullary thyroid cancer may receive Cometriq. This prescription chemotherapy drug is used when the cancer has spread to other areas of the body. Studies have shown that this drug can help slow down the progression of the disease. It comes as a capsule that is taken once daily. Side effects include diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.
What Is Cometriq?
Cometriq™ (cabozantinib) is a prescription medication approved to treat medullary thyroid cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. Medullary thyroid cancer is a rare type of cancer that begins in the thyroid, a gland in the neck that makes various hormones.
Cometriq is made by Catalent Pharma Solutions, Inc., for Exelixis, Inc.
How Does Cometriq Work?
Cometriq belongs to a group of medications known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors. It works by blocking tyrosine kinase, a protein in the body responsible for the growth and division of cancer cells. By blocking tyrosine kinase, Cometriq may slow down or stop the growth of cancer cells, which can slow down how quickly the disease progresses.
Cometriq has been shown to work for the treatment of metastatic medullary thyroid cancer in a clinical study. In this study, people with medullary thyroid cancer that had progressed and spread to other areas of the body (was metastatic) were randomly given either Cometriq or a placebo (a "sugar pill" with no active ingredients).
People in the study given Cometriq had a median progression-free survival time of 11.2 months. (Progression-free survival is the length of time after treatment starts that the cancer does not get worse.) In comparison, people given the placebo had a progression-free survival time of four months.
However, this study did not show a difference in overall survival. This means the percentage of people who remained alive during the study was the same for Cometriq and the placebo.
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.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed April 25, 2013.
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