As published in the February 1, 2008 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, a Phase II study of Sutent (sunitinib) has shown significant activity in certain cancers. Specifically, researchers found that some advanced, non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) that have been previously treated responded to the medication.
According to the company’s website, Stutent is a “targeted therapy and is a receptor protein-trosine kinase inhibitor. It inhibits the actions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and is an angiogenesis inhibitor.” Taken orally, the drug was created to treat advanced renal cell cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST).
Recently, doctors have been exploring its effect on advanced NSCLC. In the latest clinical trial, 63 patients were given daily 50 mg doses of Stutent for four weeks. After taking the drug for those initial four weeks, patients were given the next two weeks off. The results were as follows:
- 28.6 percent of patients (18 people) saw their cancer stabilize for a minimum of eight weeks
- 11.1 percent of patients (seven people) saw a partial response to the drug
- Side effects included nausea, fatigue, vomiting, anorexia, diarrhea and shortness of breath. Fewer people experienced more serious side effects, with 9.5 percent experiencing asthenia, 19 percent experiencing severe fatigue, 13 percent experiencing shortness of breath and only 7 percent reported vomiting.
After all of this, the doctors in charge of the study came to the conclusion that Stutent was probably just as effective as other approved therapies for patients whose NSCLC didn’t respond to first-line chemotherapy. Generally speaking, Stutent was also proven to be well tolerated.
Interestingly, St John’s wort (a common herbal supplement) shouldn’t be taken with Stutent, as it may decrease the concentrations of the drug and increase metabolism.