New Kidney Cancer Rx Outperformed Standard Treatment

Cabozantinib for kidney cancer appeared more effective than everolimus (Afinitor)

(RxWiki News) A new medication is showing promise for kidney cancer treatment.

That medication is cabozantinib. A new study found that it outperformed everolimus (brand name Afinitor), a current treatment for advanced kidney cancer, in keeping the cancer from progressing for a longer period of time.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted cabozantinib breakthrough therapy status and is currently considering the drug for approval, according to a press release. Cabozantinib is currently approved to treat advanced thyroid cancer under the brand name Cometriq.

Early data from an ongoing trial of this drug suggest that it controlled cancer growth more effectively than everolimus and show a “strong trend indicating that survival may be improved in patients receiving cabozantinib compared to standard therapy,” said lead study author Toni K. Choueiri, MD, clinical director of the Genitourinary Cancer Treatment Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, in a press release.

For this study, 658 patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, one of the most common types of kidney cancer, received either cabozantinib or everolimus. Among those who received cabozantinib, their cancer did not progress for 7.4 months on average. For the everolimus group, that figure was 3.8 months, Dr. Choueiri and colleagues found.

Compared to those taking everolimus, patients taking cabozantinib had 42 percent less chance of death or cancer progression, Dr. Choueiri and team found. Tumor response to treatment was seen in 21 percent of patients taking cabozantinib — compared to 5 percent of those taking everolimus.

While these findings appear promising, they can't be confirmed until longer-term data and follow-up are obtained.

Dr. Choueiri presented this study Sept. 26 at the European Cancer Congress 2015 in Vienna. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer-reviewed.

Exelixis, Inc., the maker of cabozantinib, funded this research. Several study authors disclosed ties, fees and other relationships with the funder.

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Review Date: 
September 29, 2015