The drug pazopanib (Votrient) slowed the progression of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a form of kidney cancer, in patients by 54% percent, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"Advanced renal cell carcinoma remains a challenging disease, but the outlook for patients has improved in the past year -- including the addition of pazopanib, which targets multiple pathways within cancer cells," study author Dr. Cora N. Sternberg, chief of the medical oncology department at the San Camillo and Forlanini Hospital in Rome, Italy, said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Dr. Sternberg also serves as the director of the scientific advisory board for the Columbus Cancer Foundation, a international nonprofit organization devoted to supporting basic cancer research.
Pazopanib inhibits the development of blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread.
"These clinical findings are indeed very encouraging," said Dr. Antonio Giordano, M.D., Ph.D., the founder and director of the Sbarro Health Research Organization located at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. "We will look forward to the further studies which are currently evaluating the impact of pazopanib on the overall survival of treated patients."
In a phase 3 study, 233 patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastastic kidney cancer and 202 other patients with kidney cancer who had been previously treated with interleukin or interferon, were randomly assigned to receive the oral drug pazopanib or a placebo.
Results showed that the time it took for a patient's disease to progress was more than double for the group receiving pazopanib (9.2 months), compared with the placebo group (4.2 months). The most dramatic effect was seen in previously untreated patients (11.1 months for the pazopanib group vs. 2.8 for the placebo) and persisted among those previously treated (7.4 vs. 4.2 months, respectively). The study is ongoing to determine how the drug impacts overall survival.
Common side effects of pazopanib included diarrhea (52 percent), hypertension (40 percent), hair color changes (38 percent), nausea (26 percent), weight loss (22 percent) and vomiting (21 percent).
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