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TUESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Treating advanced kidney cancer patients with the drug pazopanib (Votrient) slowed their disease progression by 54 percent, a new study has found.
The phase 3 study included 233 patients with previously untreated kidney cancer (also known as renal cell carcinoma) that was locally advanced or had spread, and 202 patients with renal cell carcinoma who had previously been treated with cytokine therapy (interferon or interleukin). The patients were randomly assigned to take pazopanib tablets (290 patients) or a placebo drug (145 patients).
In the pazopanib group, it took an average 9.2 months for the cancer to progress, vs. an average 4.2 months in the placebo group. The difference was greatest in previously untreated patients (11.1 months for the pazopanib group and 2.8 months for the placebo group), but also was found among patients previously treated with cytokines (7.4 months in the pazopanib group vs. 4.2 months in placebo group).
Common side effects of pazopanib treatment included diarrhea (52 percent), high blood pressure (40 percent), hair color changes (38 percent), nausea (26 percent), weight loss (22 percent) and vomiting (21 percent).
The data from this study, published online Jan. 25 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, was used by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to approve pazopanib in October 2009 for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma.
Pazopanib inhibits the development of blood vessels that tumors need to grow and spread.
"Advanced renal cell carcinoma remains a challenging disease, but treatment has improved with the introduction of new targeted therapies over the past year -- including pazopanib, which targets multiple pathways within cancer cells," study author Dr. Cora Sternberg, chief of the medical oncology department at the San Camillo and Forlanini Hospital in Rome, Italy, said in a news release from the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
The American Cancer Society has more about kidney cancer.