Groundbreaking Kidney Cancer Trial Could Change Global Clinical Practice


Adjuvant therapy that improves outcomes for kidney cancer patients may finally be an option.

For the first time, researchers have successfully prevented kidney cancer recurrence with an adjuvant therapy.

Although adjuvant treatments have been routinely used in patients with other types of cancer, this form of treatment was not available for patients with kidney cancer, until recently. Findings from the international study demonstrated that taking the oral tablet Sunitinib for 1 year reduced the likelihood of patients having their cancer come back.

For the randomized, double-blind study, researchers enrolled 615 people with stage T3 renal cell carcinoma, who were administered either Sunitinib or a placebo. The results of the study, presented at the ESMO 2016 Congress in Copenhagen, showed that patients treated with Sunitinib had improved disease-free survival (6.8 years) compared with placebo (5.6 years).

“This is a really positive result that could make a real difference to kidney cancer patients,” said Christopher Tibbs, medical director at Royal Surrey Country Hospital. “The increase in ‘disease-free time’ and the reduced risk of the disease returning will mean so much to these patients.”

Adverse events in patients who received the Sunitinib were found to be higher than the placebo group, as expected, but the side effects were manageable and had no significant impact on quality-of-life, according to the study.

“This trial was undertaken with a very well-defined population of patients who are generally at high risk of relapse,” said lead researcher Hardev Pandha. “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.”

Sunitinib has been used on patients with metastatic renal cancer for approximately 8 years.

“I’m delighted that we’ve seen such good results and will continue to support my clinical colleagues in their endeavors to always look for medical advancements and opportunities to achieve improved outcomes,” Tibbs concluded.

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