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How does Cabometyx work?

Medically reviewed by Philip Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Sep 13, 2023.

Official answer


Cabometyx (cabozantinib) is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which works by helping to stop the out-of-control growth that cancer cells display. Carbometyx works by blocking the signals between cells that promote the growth of new blood vessels and encourage cells to divide and grow. In doing so, it decreases the ability of tumors to spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body and invade surrounding areas.

Tyrosine kinases are a family of enzymes that are involved in the normal communication pathways between cells. They play a role in maintaining a body that functions correctly. However, in some situations they don’t function as they should and this can lead to the development of various diseases, including cancers.

Cabometyx specifically blocks or inhibits the tyrosine kinase activity of:

  • MET
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFR)-1, -2 and -3
  • AXL
  • RET
  • ROS1
  • TYRO3
  • MER
  • KIT
  • TRKB
  • FLT-3
  • TIE-2

It blocks their activity involved in normal cellular functioning, as well as their activity that leads to the development and spread of cancer.

Cabometyx is used to treat patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer), including as a first-line treatment when used in combination with Opdivo (nivolumab). It is also used to treat patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) who have previously been treated with Nexavar (sorafenib), as well as certain patients with differentiated thyroid cancer. It comes in the form of a tablet and is taken once a day.


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