© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
May 13, 2005A new drug, called AG-013736, is designed to treat metastatic renal cell cancer (a type of kidney cancer) that no longer responds to immunotherapy.Immunotherapy, a treatment for advanced kidney cancer, is the use of substances (made by the body or created in a laboratory) to support or stimulate the body's own immune system in fighting cancer. Interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-alpha are well-known immunotherapies for kidney cancer.This study was a phase II trial, in which researchers wanted to determine whether AG-013736 could slow tumor growth in kidney cancer. AG-013736 is taken as a pill and is designed to shut down various pathways that help tumors grow and form new blood vessels.In this study, 52 patients received AG-013736. The tumors shrank by 30% in 21 patients (40%). After one year, tumors in only 13 (25%) of the patients grew or spread. The most common side effect of AG-013736 was high blood pressure, which is easily treated with medication."The response of this drug in patients with advanced renal cancer is better than any other drug that has been approved for this disease," said Brian Rini, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and lead author of the study.What this means for patientsThe study provides evidence that this drug works in people with this type of kidney cancer. However, a large phase III trial comparing this drug with the current standard treatment must be done in order for the drug to become widely available. Patients are encouraged to talk to their doctors to learn more.