According to an article recently published in the journal Cancer, Revlimid® (lenalidomide) provides anticancer activity in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
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 cancer involving these tubules of the kidney. Metastatic RCC (MRCC) refers to cancer that has spread from the kidney to distant sites in the body.
For more than two decades the main treatment of MRCC has been Proleukin® (Il-2) and alfa interferon. These two agents are able to produce complete disappearances of cancer (remissions) in only a small fraction of patients. More recently, other biologic agents such as Sutent® (sunitinib) and Nexavar® (sorafenib) have demonstrated significant anticancer activity in the treatment of MRCC. Researchers continue to evaluate novel therapeutic strategies to improve outcomes for patients with MRCC.
Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic recently conducted a clinical trial evaluating Revlimid in the treatment of MRCC. This trial included 28 patients. More than half of the patients had received prior systemic (full body) therapy, 40% had received prior radiation, and 43% had received no therapy besides surgery.
- Three patients achieved a partial disappearance of their cancer that persisted for over 15 months.
- 39% of patients had a stabilization of their cancer for at least three months.
- Median overall survival had not yet been reached at 13.5 months of follow-up.
- Major side effects included fatigue, skin problems, and low levels of immune cells.
The authors concluded that Revlimid appears promising for the treatment of MRCC. Future clinical trials will help evaluate the true effectiveness of Revlimid in MRCC.
Patients with MRCC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating Revlimid or other promising therapies. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials include the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.
Reference: Choueiri TK, Dreicer R, Rini BI, et al. Phase II study of lenalidomide in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. 2006;107:2609-2616.