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Nexavar (sorafenib) provides an effective and safe treatment option for elderly patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), or kidney cancer. These results were recently published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

The kidneys are each filled with tiny tubules that clean and filter the blood®the process that removes waste and makes urine. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a malignancy involving these tubules of the kidney and is the most common type of kidney cancer. Standard treatment for RCC may include cytokines, such as interferon, which stimulate the immune system to fight cancer.

Metastatic RCC refers to cancer that has spread from the kidney to distant sites in the body. Researchers continue to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metastatic RCC. Targeted agents, such as Nexavar, are becoming a strong focus of this research. Nexavar blocks the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting several biological pathways that are involved in cellular replication and spread.

There is a long-held perception that older cancer patients may be at higher risk than younger patients of suffering from the toxic effects from cancer therapy and at the same time, they may actually obtain less clinical benefit from the therapy. However, this perception may result from the fact that the elderly are not a well-represented group in clinical trials. As a result, there is no data to show how the elderly respond to targeted therapy.

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Researchers from Europe and the United States recently conducted a subgroup analysis of the Treatment Approach in Renal Cancer Global Evaluation Trial, a large clinical trial evaluating Nexavar in the treatment of advanced RCC. The researchers compared outcomes from elderly patients (over 70 years) to those of their younger counterparts in the trial to further assess Nexavar’s role in the treatment of RCC.

The results of the analysis indicated that overall clinical benefit derived from treatment with Nexavar was similar between older and younger patients. Side effects and self-reported health status were also similar between older and younger patients treated with Nexavar.

Because the outcomes were similar for elderly and younger patients, the researchers concluded that Nexavar is an effective and safe treatment for elderly patients with RCC. Elderly patients with advanced RCC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of treatment with Nexavar.

**Reference:**®Eisen T, Oudard S, Szczylik C, et al. Sorafenib for Older Patients With Renal Cell Carcinoma: Subset Analysis From a Randomized Trial. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008: 100;1454-1463