Brand named Sutent, Sunitinib is a receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (RTKI) used to treat renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). It is also in clinical trials for mesothelioma treatment. The drug was approved on January 26th of 2006, and is the first cancer fighting drug to be approved for two different indications at the same time. This medication is widely prescribed by doctors and has become the de facto treatment for RCC and GIST. Sunitinib operates by inhibiting the signaling in cells including platelet-derived growth factor receptors and vascular endothelial growth factor receptors which cause tumor formation and growth. The effect is that the growth of tumors is slowed and the cancerous cells die.
Sutent is administered orally, and the common dosage cycle is once daily for a period of four weeks with a two week break between cycles. A dietary requirement while taking Sutent is to avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice as it will cause adverse reactions. While most patients experience few or manageable side effects, less than ten percent of patients have had heart failure. Some of the drug’s other side effects include:
- Weight loss
- Tingling in the extremities
If any of the following side effects are experienced, you should contact your doctor immediately:
- Shortness of breath
- Sudden pain or swelling in the extremities
- Increased heart rate or irregular heart rate
- Sudden chest or back pains
- Rapid weight gain
- Black, pink, or bloody mucus when coughing
- Excessive urination
- Unexpected blood loss
Abstract: Final results of a phase II study of sunitinib as second-line therapy in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM).