Vandetanib - a novel drug against medullary thyroid cancer

Despite many advances in cancer medical management, the overall survival rate of patients with cancer has not improved significantly in the past two decades. Therefore, the need for newer drugs with varied mechanism of action is the need of the hour to overcome this obstacle. The basic approach for cancer treatment is shifting from direct cytotoxic activity to other avenues. Hence, to tackle the cancerous cells, newer approaches like genetic therapies and biological response modifiers are being tried. Apoptosis is an essential physiological process in the regulation of development and maintenance of homeostasis in adult tissue; its low rate may promote survival and accumulation of abnormal cells, which leads to tumour formation. Similarly, a major characteristic of cancer cells is the loss of differentiation. Nowadays, clinical trials are carried on targeting apoptosis and cell differentiation therapy. Cancer is primarily an environmental disease, but genetics influence the risk of some cancers. An individual's hormone level is mostly determined genetically, so this may at least partly explain the presence of some cancers that run in families that do not seem to have any cancer-causing genes. One such cancer is medullary thyroid cancer, which is more likely to run in families and be associated with other endocrine problems. In fact, medullary thyroid cancer is the only thyroid cancer that can be diagnosed by genetic testing of the blood cells. A new drug called Vandetanib has been approved for the treatment of familial medullary thyroid cancer in adult patients who are ineligible for surgery. The purpose of this paper is to outline the advances in understanding the pathogenesis of medullary thyroid cancer and to summarise the results of the clinical trials of Vandetanib.

Vandetanib; Thyroid cancer; Apoptosis; Clinical trials

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How to cite this article:
Hameedunissa Begum A. Vandetanib - a novel drug against medullary thyroid cancer. Journal of Biological and Information Sciences. 2012. 1 (2). 9-4.
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