Drugs Used in the Treatment of Thyroid Cancer

Thyroid cancer is the cancer in the thyroid gland, an endocrine organ which produces hormones that control the speed of metabolism. Read more about thyroid cancer here.
Thyroid cancer can be treated using chemotherapeutic drugs alone, or by the usage of those drugs along with other treatments. Read more about chemotherapy here. The following are the drugs approved for thyroid cancer:

Picture of a thyroid test held conducted by a doctor

Cabozantinib-s-malate

This drug is approved for treating progressive and metastasized medullary thyroid cancer. It is a non-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitor. During the patient’s blood pressure has to be monitored periodically.

Side effects:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloody stool
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Skin problems
  • Heart problems
  • Confusion
  • Liver problems

Vandetanib

It is an anticancer drug which acts as a kinase inhibitor aiming at certain thyroid tumours. This drug is used for locally advanced or metastasized cancer, which cannot be removed by surgery, especially medullary thyroid cancer.

Side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Skin problems
  • Indigestion
  • Abdominal pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Bleeding
  • Weight loss

Doxorubicin Hydrochloride

This approved drug for thyroid cancer is an antibiotic, often given in combination with other drugs or can also be taken alone. This drug is also given in the form of doxorubicin hydrochloride liposome. It damages the DNA of the cells and restricts the growth of cancer cells, eventually killing them.

Side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hair loss
  • Skin problems and swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Fatigue
  • Lung problems
  • Red urine

Ipilimumab

This drug is used for metastasized thyroid cancer post surgical procedures. It is a monoclonal antibody which targets the growth and division of the cancer cells.

Side effects:

  • Tiredness
  • Urinating problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin problems
  • High pulse rate
  • Skin problems
  • Diarrhea

Lenvatinib Mesylate

This drug is prescribed to the patients who have responded for radioactive iodine treatment. It is given for metastasized, progressive or recurrent thyroid cancers also. Lenvatinib is multiple receptor tyrosine kinase which aims at killing the cancer cells.

Side effects:

  • Hypertension
  • Cardiac dysfunction
  • Diarrhea
  • Renal failure
  • Healing problems
  • Gastrointestinal perforation
  • Hepatotoxicity

Sorafenib Tosylate

It is a kinase inhibitor drug used for treating metastasized, progressive or recurrent thyroid cancer which has not responded effectively for other treatments like radioactive iodine therapy. It acts as an suppressor for tumours.

Side effects:

  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Bleeding
  • Constipation and Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Low platelet count
  • Skin problems (rashes and itching)
  • Numbness and tingling of hands and feet

Nivolumab

This drug is used for treating recurrent thyroid cancer or those cancers which cannot be removed by surgery. It is given intravenously two weeks. Each dose will be given for 60 minutes.

Side effects:

  • Low blood cell count
  • Abdominal pain
  • Chest pain
  • Lowered sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium levels
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Pneumonia
  • Increased serum ALT

All of the above side effects of using drugs for thyroid cancer are due to the damage that these drugs do to the healthy cells. On experiencing the side effects of any of the drugs, the patients have to consult a doctor immediately. Know more about the concerns after antithyroid cancer treatments here.

Related Posts:

Newsletter

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter