Among patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (a cancer that develops in the hormone-producing area of the pancreas), treatment with the targeted therapy Sutent® (sunitinib) more than doubled progression-free survival compared with placebo. These results were presented at the 2010 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium.
Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors are a relatively uncommon type of cancer that develops in the hormone-producing cells of the pancreas.
Sutent is an oral targeted agent that works by inhibiting multiple biologic pathways involved in the growth, replication, and spread of cancer cells. It has been shown to be effective in the treatment of selected patients with kidney cancer or gastrointestinal stromal tumors, and is also being evaluated in the treatment of other types of cancer.
To evaluate Sutent for the treatment of advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial among 171 patients who had experienced cancer progression. Half the patients were treated with Sutent, and half were treated with a placebo.
- Progression-free survival was 11.4 months among patients treated with Sutent and 5.5 months among patients treated with placebo.
- Patients treated with Sutent also experienced better overall survival than patients treated with placebo.
- The most common serious side effect of Sutent was neutropenia (a low white blood cell count), which affected 12% of patients.
These results suggest that Sutent may improve outcomes among patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Reference: Raymond E, Niccoli-Sire P, Bang Y et al. Updated results of the phase III trial of sunitinib (SU) versus placebo (PBO) for treatment of advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (NET). Presented at the 2010 ASCO Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium. January 22-24, 2010, Orlando, FL. Abstract 127.