Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene in most sporadic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) tumors leads to a fundamental reliance on elements of this pathway, namely, the potent proangiogenic factor, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Thus, VEGF-targeted therapeutics have undergone extensive clinical testing in RCC. Approaches to bind circulating VEGF protein (eg, bevacizumab) and small molecule inhibitors of the receptor on which the VEGF ligand binds (eg, sunitinib, sorafenib, axitinib, and pazopanib) have been tested. Robust clinical effects have been observed, including high objective response rates, prolonged progression-free survival, and evidence of long overall survival for patients with metastatic RCC patients who are treated with these agents. Future directions include investigation of combination and sequenced therapy, elucidation of mechanisms of response and resistance, and exploration of the effect of these agents in other disease settings.
(c) 2009 American Cancer Society.