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According to results recently published in the British Journal of Cancer, the chemotherapy combination consisting of Camptosar®, Platinol® and mitomycin produces anti-cancer responses and provides symptom relief in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma that has stopped responding to immunotherapy.

The kidneys are a pair of bean shaped organs located on each side of the spine. The kidneys filter the blood and eliminate waste in the urine through a complex system of filtration tubules. All of the blood in the body passes through the kidneys approximately 20 times an hour. Renal cell cancer is an uncommon form of cancer that is most often characterized by the presence of cancer cells in the lining of the filtration tubules of the kidney. Metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) refers to cancer that has spread from the kidney to distant and/or several sites in the body. Standard treatment for metastatic RCC often includes immunotherapy agents such as

Proleukin® or alfa-interferon which stimulate the immune system to help fight the cancer. When patients stop responding to standard therapies, they are left with few effective treatment options.

Researchers from London recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating the chemotherapy regimen Camptosar®/Platinol®/mitomycin (IPM) in the treatment of metastatic RCC who had stopped responding to, or who had never responded to immunotherapy. This trial included 33 patients who had progressive disease while being treated with immunotherapy. Anti-cancer responses following IPM were achieved in 54% of patients and 61% of patients reported an improvement in symptoms caused by the cancer. Patients reported that this treatment regimen did not reduce their quality of life. The average time to cancer progression was 4.8 months following IPM, compared to 3.9 months in patient’s prior immunotherapeutic regimens.

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The researchers concluded that IPM may be considered as a treatment option for patients with metastatic RCC that does not respond to immunotherapy, as it provides anti-cancer responses, improvement in symptoms and possible improvement in survival. Future clinical trials directly comparing IPM to other treatment options are warranted to determine true clinical benefit. Patients with metastatic RCC that has stopped responding to immunotherapy may wish to discuss the risks and benefits of IPM or the participation in a clinical trial evaluating other therapeutic options with their physician.

Reference: Shamash J, Steele J, Wilson P, et al. IPM chemotherapy in cytokine refractory renal cell cancer.

British Journal of Cancer. 2003;88:1516-1521.

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