What Is Sorafenib Used For?
If you have advanced renal cell carcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, or differentiated thyroid carcinoma, a healthcare provider may prescribe sorafenib. This chemotherapy drug works to slow down the progression of these conditions by blocking an enzyme that causes cancer cells to grow and multiply. Sorafenib is not approved for use in children. However, it can sometimes be used off-label to treat skin cancer and lung cancer.
An Overview of Uses for SorafenibSorafenib (Nexavar®) is a prescription medication approved to treat certain types of cancer. Specifically, sorafenib is used to treat:
- Advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of kidney cancer
- Hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer
- Differentiated thyroid carcinoma (DTC), a type of thyroid cancer.
Sorafenib Use for Renal Cell CarcinomaRenal cell carcinoma is cancer that starts in the lining of very small tubes (called tubules) in the kidneys that filter the blood and remove waste products. RCC is not the only type of kidney cancer; however, it is the most common type.
Sorafenib is approved to treat advanced RCC. Advanced kidney cancer has moved beyond the kidney, usually to the lymph nodes and other areas of the body. Advanced RCC is also sometimes referred to as stage IV kidney cancer, metastatic kidney cancer, or late-stage kidney cancer.
Sorafenib Use for Liver CancerLiver cancer is a disease in which cancer cells form in the tissues of the liver. When the disease begins in the liver, it is called primary liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma is relatively rare in the United States.
It is important to note that primary liver cancer is different from secondary liver cancer. Secondary liver cancer occurs when cancer cells spread to the liver from another organ, such as the colon, lung, or breast. This type is more common than primary liver cancer.
Primary liver cancer may be treated with surgery if it is diagnosed early enough, before the cancer cells have spread beyond the liver. However, once the cancer cells have spread, surgery is unlikely to be a viable treatment option. Sorafenib is approved to treat hepatocellular carcinoma when it cannot be treated with surgery.