Cancer Drug Receives Approval for 2 Conditions
The FDA swiftly approved Pfizer's sunitinib(Sutent) for the treatment of a rarestomach cancer, as well as advanced kidneycancer. The drug first received priorityreview status as a kidney cancer drug,and within 6 months it was approvedbecause of its treatment success. Whensunitinib was in clinical trials as a treatmentfor stomach cancer, those trialswere halted because of the drug's significantability to delay tumor growth;researchers began administering sunitinibto the patients in the placebo group.The drug works by depriving the tumorcells of the blood and nutrients neededfor growth. The once-a-day capsule isnow being studied for its efficacy in treatingother cancers such as colorectal,breast, and lung cancer. Side effectsinclude diarrhea, skin discoloration,mouth irritation, weakness, and alteredtaste; 4% of patients were affected byhypothyroidism.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medicalwriter based in Wakefield, RI.