How kidney cancer therapies could improve quality of life

Kidney cancer drugs in development could improve patients' quality of life and allow more effective treatment, according to Professor Robert Hawkins of Manchester University.

Drugs such as sunitinib have represented a 'step change' in kidney cancer treatment in the past few years, but have a number of side effects, Professor Hawkins said. These can be significant, given that people take sunitinib for a year on average, but can be on it indefinitely, he added.

Professor Hawkins said that data on the developmental drug pazopanib suggested it had fewer 'off-target' effects than sunitinib: 'Pazopanib is much more specific, which potentially leads to fewer side effects. There are two likely benefits. One is that it will lead to a better quality of life. Also, patients may tolerate the treatment at a fuller dose for longer.'

Promising data on regorafenib, another agent targeting the same receptor, were also presented at the conference.

Originally published in the December 2009 edition of MIMS Oncology & Palliative Care.

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