Targeted Drugs Produce Complete Responses in Some Patients with Metastatic Kidney Cancer

Posted on February 28th, 2012 by

Some patients with metastatic kidney cancer experience a complete response (a complete disappearance of detectable cancer) after treatment with Sutent® (sunitinib) or Nexavar® (sorafenib), but researchers have not yet been able to predict which patients are most likely to achieve this level of response. These results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Each year in theUnited States, more than 58,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer. Renal cell cancer is the most common type of kidney cancer.

For people with metastatic renal cell cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body), targeted therapies such as Sutent and Nexavar can play an important role in treatment. When people respond to these treatments, the response is usually partial (a reduction in detectable cancer). Complete responses are less common, but have been reported.

To explore the predictors and outcome of complete responses, researchers inFranceandSwitzerlandevaluated 64 patients with metastatic kidney cancer. All had had a complete response to treatment with Sutent or Nexavar. In some cases, the drug was administered alone, and in other cases the drug was given in combination with local treatments such as surgery or radiation therapy.

At the main study center, complete responses occurred in less than two percent of all patients treated with Sutent or Nexavar.

  • The researchers were not able to identify clinical or biological characteristics that were linked with a complete response to treatment. It’s still not possible to predict, therefore, which patients with metastatic kidney cancer are most likely to have a complete response to Sutent or Nexavar.
  • After achieving a complete response, some patients continued treatment with Sutent or Nexavar and some did not. Relapses occurred in both groups (those who continued treatment and those who did not). Because of the small number of study subjects, it was not possible to determine whether continuing treatment reduces the likelihood of relapse.
  • Among the patients who discontinued treatment, slightly more than half (55 percent) were still relapse-free after eight months of follow-up.

These results describe the experiences of patients who have a complete response to Sutent or Nexavar. Some patients relapse after achieving a complete response, but it remains uncertain whether continuing Sutent or Nexavar after a complete response reduces the risk of relapse.
Reference: Albiges L, Oudard S, Negrier S et al. Complete remission with tyrosine kinase inhibitors in renal cell carcinoma. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2012;30:482-287.

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Tags: General Renal Cancer, News, Renal Cancer, Urology

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