People with advanced kidney cancer may have a new alternative in their limited arsenal of treatment options that are both well tolerated and effective against the disease. New research led by Memorial Sloan-Kettering has shown that the investigational drug tivozanib is more effective than an approved targeted therapy called sorafenib (Nexavar®) in delaying the growth of their cancer.
“These findings are important because it’s the first time a drug has resulted in an average progression-free survival for more than one year among patients who have had no prior treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma,” said medical oncologist Robert J. Motzer, principal investigator of the phase III randomized clinical trial that included more than 500 patients.
Tivozanib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed to specifically block all three vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors — a selective approach that minimizes toxicities.
The international study also demonstrated that tivozanib — a once-daily oral medication — was better tolerated than sorafenib, causing fewer and less severe side effects and a decreased need for dose interruptions and reductions, which may compromise how well a treatment works.
“The results of our work represent a potential step forward for patients living with this disease,” added Dr. Motzer, who will present the research data at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on June 2.
Dr. Motzer's work at Memorial Sloan-Kettering has contributed to the development of various targeted drugs that interfere with molecular factors important to kidney cancer growth.
Researchers continue to evaluate tivozanib in people with kidney cancer and with other tumors.