© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
Posted online January 25, 2010, on www.jco.org.
A new study finds that the oral drug pazopanib (VOTRIENT) significantly delays the time it takes for cancer to spread in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a form of kidney cancer. This study provides the first full report of data used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve the drug in October 2009 for the treatment of advanced RCC, adding to the growing arsenal of targeted therapies for this challenging disease. The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
In this phase III (late-stage) study, 233 patients with previously untreated locally advanced or metastatic RCC and 202 other patients with RCC who had previously been treated with interferon or interleukin were randomly assigned to receive pazopanib (290 patients) or placebo (145 patients). Pazopanib is a tablet that is taken orally.
The time it took for a patient's disease to progress (“progression-free survival”) was more than two times longer for the pazopanib group (9.2 months) compared with the placebo group (4.2 months). This difference was especially pronounced among the patients who had not received treatment previously (11.1 months for the pazopanib group versus 2.8 months for placebo), and persisted among those previously treated with interferon or interleukin (7.4 versus 4.2 months, respectively). The study is ongoing to determine how the drug affects overall survival.
Pazopanib works by inhibiting the development of blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread. The most common side effects were diarrhea (52 percent), hypertension (40 percent), hair color changes (38 percent), nausea (26 percent), weight loss (22 percent) and vomiting (21 percent).
What This Means for Patients
Advanced renal cell carcinoma remains a challenging disease, but the outlook for patients with this form of cancer has improved in the past year with the introduction of several new treatments that target specific functions of cancer cells. The recent FDA approval of pazopanib provides patients with a new pill option that can slow the progression of their disease. Other studies are under way to compare pazopanib with other targeted therapies for advanced RCC.