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Is Xgeva a chemotherapy drug?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on July 13, 2023.

Official answer


No. Xgeva is not a chemotherapy drug. It is a targeted treatment, called a monoclonal antibody and is classified as a bone-modifying agent. Although it is not a chemotherapy drug it is often given with chemotherapy medicines.

Xgeva works as a RANK ligand (RANKL) inhibitor. RANKL is a protein that is essential for the formation and survival of osteoclasts - these are the cells responsible for bone resorption, which is the process during which osteoclasts break down bone tissue and release minerals, such as calcium from bone tissue to the blood. Some cancer tumors stimulate RANKL, increasing the activity of osteoclasts and causing bone pain and bone loss. Xgeva stops RANKL from binding to its receptor so reduces bone breakdown, bone loss, bone pain, and other bone complications.

Xgeva is used to prevent bone fractures and other skeletal conditions in people with tumors that have spread to the bone, in those with multiple myeloma, and in those with hypercalcemia of malignancy that has not responded to bisphosphonate therapy.


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