Context: Current treatment options for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) are limited and there is a need to identify novel and effective therapies. Sunitinib malate is an oral multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which has shown activity in an initial study of cytokine-refractory metastatic RCC patients.
Objective: To confirm the antitumor efficacy of sunitinib as second-line treatment in patients with metastatic clear-cell RCC, the predominant cell type of this malignancy.
Design, setting, and patients: Open-label, single-arm, multicenter clinical trial. Patients were enrolled between February and November 2004, with follow-up continuing until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or withdrawal of consent. The reported data apply through August 2005. Patients (N = 106) had metastatic clear-cell RCC, which had progressed despite previous cytokine therapy.
Intervention: Repeated 6-week cycles of sunitinib, 50 mg per day given orally for 4 consecutive weeks followed by 2 weeks off per treatment cycle.
Main outcome measures: Assessment of clinical response, degree of tumor regression on imaging studies using the Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) guidelines. Primary end point was overall objective response rate (complete plus partial). Secondary end points were progression-free survival and safety. Response was evaluated by independent third-party core imaging laboratory and by treating physicians (investigator assessment).
Results: All 106 patients received sunitinib and were included in the intent-to-treat population for safety analyses. Of these, 105 patients were evaluable for efficacy analyses. The objective response rate according to an independent third-party assessment resulted in 36 patients with partial response (34%; 95% confidence interval, 25%-44%), and a median progression-free survival of 8.3 months (95% confidence interval, 7.8-14.5 months). The most common adverse events experienced by patients were fatigue in 30 (28%) and diarrhea 21 (20%). Neutropenia, elevation of lipase, and anemia were the most common laboratory abnormalities observed in 45 (42%), 30 (28%), and 27 (26%) patients, respectively.
Conclusion: The results of this trial demonstrate the efficacy and manageable adverse-event profile of sunitinib as a single agent in second-line therapy for patients with cytokine-refractory metastatic clear-cell RCC.
Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00077974.