Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three 'targeted' cancer drugs raise risk of fatal side effects

Date:
February 6, 2012
Source:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Summary:
Treatment with three "targeted" cancer drugs has been linked to a slightly elevated chance of fatal side effects, according to a new analysis. These risks remain low, but they should be factored in when developing patients’ treatment plans.

Treatment with three relatively new "targeted" cancer drugs has been linked to a slightly elevated chance of fatal side effects, according to a new analysis led by scientists at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They added that the risk remains low, but should be taken into account by physicians and patients.

The incidence of fatal complications was 1.5 percent in patients who received any of the three drugs, which block the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) tyrosine kinase receptors in cancer cells, according to the study published February 6 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. This is compared to a 0.7 percent incidence in patients given standard treatments or placebos.

The study looked at three drugs: sorafenib (Nexavar), sunitinib (Sutent), and pazopanib (Votrient). Sorafenib is approved to treat kidney and liver cancer, sunitinib to treat kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pazopanib to treat kidney cancer.

The authors of the study, led by Dana-Farber's Toni Choueiri, MD, suggest that physicians give full consideration of the potential risk before using the targeted drugs with patients at slightly high risk for bleeding or heart attacks -- the most common fatal adverse events seen in clinical trials. They also recommended that physicians and patients be aware of the risks and to consider if those patients need to be closely monitored.

"There is no doubt for the average patient, these drugs have benefits and are FDA-approved for these indications," said Choueiri. "While the absolute incidence of these fatal side effects is very small, the relative risks are higher and patients and practitioners need to be aware of it."

For example, he said, it might be necessary to temporarily stop treating a patient with the drug or to cancel an elective surgery while a patient is taking one of these drugs. Choueiri added that these drugs should be used cautiously in patients who have had heart attacks. "The patient should be given all the information, and then he or she can balance the pros and cons in deciding whether to take the next step into treatment."

Choueiri said he believed the study is the first meta-analysis of published controlled trials to show a significantly increased risk of death from treatment with these VEGF-tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The majority of patients who died suffered fatal bleeding; the second most common cause was heart attack or heart failure; liver failure was also seen.

The 10 clinical trials subjected to the meta-analysis included 4,679 patients treated with the drugs.

Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor is a tyrosine kinase molecule that responds to chemical signals secreted by tumors to encourage the formation of new blood vessels for the purpose of providing nutrients to support tumor growth. However, humans need vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) at low levels to maintain critical to several physiologic processes in the body, including wound-healing, cardiac homeostasis, and formation of new blood vessels in normal tissues. As a result, blocking VEGF to treat cancer can interfere with these normal functions, increasing the odds of adverse effects.

Fabio A.B. Schutz, MD, of Dana-Farber, is the first author of the paper. The other authors are Youjin Je, ScD, of Harvard School of Public Health, and Christopher Richards, MD, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

The study was supported by the Trust Family Research Fund for Kidney Cancer.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Fabio A.B. Schutz, Youjin Je, Christopher J. Richards, and Toni K. Choueiri. Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials for the Incidence and Risk of Treatment-Related Mortality in Patients With Cancer Treated With Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors. JCO, February 6, 2012 DOI: 10.1200/JCO.2011.37.1195

Cite This Page:

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Three 'targeted' cancer drugs raise risk of fatal side effects." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206174209.htm>.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (2012, February 6). Three 'targeted' cancer drugs raise risk of fatal side effects. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206174209.htm
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Three 'targeted' cancer drugs raise risk of fatal side effects." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120206174209.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

U.S. Food Makers Surpass Calorie-Cutting Pledge

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Sixteen large food and beverage companies in the United States that committed to cut calories in their products far surpassed their target. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins