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According to an article recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the targeted agent Nexavar® (sorafenib) improves progression-free survival among patients with kidney cancer who have stopped responding to prior therapies.

The kidneys are each filled with tiny tubules that clean and filter the blood-the process that removes waste and makes urine. Renal cell cancer (RCC) is a malignancy involving these tubules of the kidney. 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, with targeted agents becoming a strong focus.

Nexavar is one such targeted agent. It blocks the growth of cancer cells by inhibiting several biological pathways that are involved in cellular replication and spread.

Researchers from several medical institutions recently conducted a Phase III clinical trial to directly compare Nexavar to placebo (inactive substitute) in the treatment of RCC. This trial included 903 patients who had stopped responding to standard therapy. One group of patients was treated with Nexavar and the other group with placebo. Patients initially treated with placebo were allowed to cross over to receive Nexavar if their disease progressed.

  • Progression-free survival was 5.5 months for those treated with Nexavar, compared with 2.8 months for those who received placebo.
  • The risk of death was reduced by nearly 30% among patients treated with Nexavar.
  • The most common side effects associated with Nexavar included diarrhea, rash, fatigue, and reactions on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
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The researchers concluded that treatment with Nexavar improves progression-free survival among patients with advanced RCC who have stopped responding to prior therapies. Patients with that RCC has stopped responding to standard therapies may wish to speak with their physician regarding individual risks and benefits of treatment with Nexavar.

Reference: Escudier B, Eisen T, Stadler W, et al. Sorafenib in advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007; 356:125-134.

Related News:Nexavar® Improves Patient Outcomes Without Compromising Quality of Life (6/14/2006)

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