Kidney cancer accounts for 129,000 deaths worldwide each year. Patients with locally advanced kidney cancer usually face a 40 to 50% chance of a relapse within five years after having an operation to remove their kidney.
A recent trial demonstrates that consuming oral tablet Sunitinib for one year reduces the likelihood of cancer returning for kidney cancer patients following removal of the kidney. Reportedly, it is the first ever preventative treatment to make a difference to kidney cancer patients after surgery.
‘Consuming oral tablet Sunitinib for one year reduces the likelihood of cancer returning for kidney cancer patients following removal of the kidney.’
The clinical trial of an adjuvant treatment for patients, who have had kidney cancer, has been carried out by an international team of oncology experts. The results of the trial are likely to change clinical practice worldwide.
While adjuvant treatments are routinely used on patients with other types of cancer (such as breast and bowel cancer), no such treatment capable of improving outcomes for kidney cancer patients have been developed yet. This is despite numerous studies being carried out in this field over the past 20 years.
The recent research demonstrates that by taking the oral tablet Sunitinib for one year, patients are able to reduce the likelihood of their cancer returning. The trial, a randomized double blind test was conducted with 615 people with stage T3 renal cell carcinoma, some of whom were given Sunitinib and some a placebo.
Patients receiving Sunitinib had improved disease free survival versus those given the placebo (6.8 years versus 5.6 years). Sunitinib is a tried and tested drug which has been used on patients with metastatic (widespread) renal cancer for around eight years. In the trial, as expected, the incidence of side-effects in patients taking Sunitinib was higher to those taking the placebo but these side effects were manageable and did not lay impact on the patients' quality of life. The trial was led in the UK by Hardev Pandha and its lead researcher was Alain Ravaud.
"This trial was undertaken with a very well-defined population of patients who are generally at high risk of relapse. For these patients, it has shown that taking a simple tablet makes a significant difference without causing a significant decrease in quality of life. Since Sunitinib is already widely used in patients with metastatic cancer, clinicians are familiar with the drug and its side-effects, so are well placed to prescribe it to patients," Pandha said.
The results of the trial were presented during the Presidential Address of the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen.