How does lenvatinib work?
Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 19, 2020.
- Lenvatinib (brand name: Lenvima) is an oral targeted drug treatment for certain cancers. It is not a chemotherapy drug.
- Lenvatinib blocks proteins that encourage cancer cell growth. It also inhibits signals to help slow growth of new blood vessels from existing blood vessels (known as angiogenesis) that support the tumor's growth.
- Abnormal angiogenesis can occur in cancer, degenerative eye diseases and other medical conditions that involve inflammation.
Targeted drugs are often referred to as “precision medicine”. Targeted therapies are designed to seek out their specific target, not directly effect all cells (although they may affect other cells and cause side effects, which can be serious). Targeted drugs block tumor cell growth (cytostatic), whereas standard chemotherapy agents typically kill tumor cells directly (are cytotoxic).
Lenvatinib is classified as an oral multiple receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibitor and Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/ vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) inhibitor.
What does lenvatinib treat?
The FDA first approved Eisai’s Lenvima (lenvatinib) in February 2015. It is an oral prescription approved for the treatment of:
- differentiated thyroid cancer (after radioactive iodine has been tried without success)
- advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer); used with another target therapy known as everolimus (Afinitor)
- inoperable hepatocellular (liver) carcinoma (HCC)
- endometrial cancer (a type of uterine cancer); used with the immunotherapy drug pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
This is not all the information you need to know about lenvatinib for safe and effective use. Review the full lenvatinib information here, and discuss this information and any questions with your doctor or other health care provider.
- Targeted Cancer Therapies. National Cancer Institute (NCI). Accessed Nov. 19, 2020 at https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/targeted-therapies/targeted-therapies-fact-sheet
- Lenvima (lenvatinib) [product information]. Eisai Inc. Woodcliff Lake, NJ. Revised February 2020. Accessed November 19, 2020 at http://www.lenvima.com/pdfs/prescribing-information.pdf
- You’re on Targeted Therapy? Is That the Same as Immunotherapy? Accessed Nov. 19, 2020 at https://lungcancer.net/living/is-targeted-therapy-same-as-immunotherapy
Related Medical Questions
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- How is lenvatinib taken / administered?
- Lenvatinib Information for Consumers
- Lenvatinib Information for Healthcare Professionals (includes dosage details)
- Side Effects of Lenvatinib (detailed)