New Treatment Option for People with Advanced Kidney Cancer

Pictured: Robert Motzer

The work of medical oncologist Robert Motzer has led to the development of targeted drugs for kidney cancer.


The recent FDA approval of axitinib provides a viable treatment option for patients who progress on or cannot tolerate the side effects of other approved drugs for the disease.

Patients with advanced kidney cancer now have a new treatment option. Recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, the new drug, called axitinib (brand name Inlyta®), is an oral medication that works by blocking certain proteins that play a role in the growth and progression of tumors. Its approval was based, in part, on research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“This important advance provides a viable treatment option for patients who progress on, or cannot tolerate, the side effects of other approved drugs for the disease,” says Memorial Sloan Kettering medical oncologist Robert J. Motzer. Dr. Motzer’s work led to the development of axitinib as well as other targeted drugs that interfere with molecular factors important to kidney cancer growth.

Since 2005, research at Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere has resulted in FDA approval of several drugs for patients with advanced kidney cancer, including sunitinib (Sutent®), temsirolimus (Torisel™), everolimus (Afinitor®), sorafenib (Nexavar®), and the combination of interferon with bevacizumab (Avastin®).

“We are currently working to improve on the efficacy of these drugs and studying newer agents that hold promise,” adds Dr. Motzer.


I was seen twice in 2011 by Drs. Coleman and Bajorin after a right nephroureterectomy(it was stage 4 high grade urothelial ca) One positive node was followed by 19 wks carboplatinum/gemcitibine. PET scan in Dec 2011 node no longer seen! PET scan on 7/18 3 enlarging L paraortic nodes. Any treatment?

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In comparison with Torisel, is Inlyta more effective in controlling the tumor progression?

Dear Victor, we sent your inquiry to Dr. Motzer, and he responded: “Both Torisel and Inlyta were studied and showed benefit in randomized phase III trials for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, resulting in FDA approval. Torisel was approved for treatment of renal cell carcinoma in a broad range of scenarios, and Inlyta specifically for patients who had progressed on a first-line treatment. Torisel and Inlyta have not been compared to each other in a randomized trial, and so we cannot say one is better than the other. Each has a different mechanism of action, and both are useful as a part of our armentarium against renal cell carcinoma.”

Thank you for your comment.

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