"This drug has shown more activity as a single agent against advanced kidney cancer than any other drug I've studied in the past 15 years," said the study's lead author Robert J. Motzer, MD, a medical oncologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). "I continue to be encouraged by its effectiveness in treating patients with this aggressive disease," said Dr. Motzer, who is a leader in the treatment of kidney cancer and conducted the earliest clinical trials on sunitinib (initially referred to as SU11248).
Interferon-alpha (IFN-) is one of the standard treatments for advanced kidney cancer, however only about 15 percent of patients respond to this immunotherapy. Sunitinib targets receptors on kidney cancer cells that may play a role in tumor growth and the development of blood vessels that feed a tumor. Previous clinical trials, also led by Dr. Motzer, showed that sunitinib caused some renal cell cancers to shrink, but this study is the first to demonstrate its effectiveness as a first-line therapy compared with standard cytokine therapy with IFN-.
The current randomized trial included 750 patients over the age of 60, half of whom were treated with a six-week cycle of sunitinib and half of whom were treated with a six-week cycle of the current treatment standard, IFN-. The primary endpoint of the trial was a comparison of progression-free survival between sunitinib and IFN- as assessed by independent third-party review. The median progression-free survival for treatment with sunitinib was 11 months, compared with 5 months following treatment with IFN-. This outcome was statistical
Contact: Maria Connizzo
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center