Gleevec for Thyroid Cancer

Gleevec® (imatinib mesylate) is prescribed to treat certain cancers of the blood, bone marrow, skin, and digestive tract. As a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, it works by blocking an enzyme that cancer cells need to multiply. The specific types of cancer Gleevec is used for include:
  • Leukemia and related cancers of the blood and bone marrow
  • A rare type of skin cancer known as dermatofibrosarcoma protuberans
  • A rare type of gastrointestinal cancer called gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST).
Studies have looked at using Gleevec for the treatment of other types of cancer, including thyroid, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Based on study results, it appears to be ineffective for ovarian and prostate cancer. Studies in thyroid cancer are ongoing.
(Click Gleevec Uses to learn more about how this chemotherapy medication works, whether children can take it, and off-label uses.)
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