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      Sunitinib versus Interferon Alfa in Metastatic Renal-Cell Carcinoma

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          Abstract

          Since sunitinib malate has shown activity in two uncontrolled studies in patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma, a comparison of the drug with interferon alfa in a phase 3 trial is warranted. We enrolled 750 patients with previously untreated, metastatic renal-cell carcinoma in a multicenter, randomized, phase 3 trial to receive either repeated 6-week cycles of sunitinib (at a dose of 50 mg given orally once daily for 4 weeks, followed by 2 weeks without treatment) or interferon alfa (at a dose of 9 MU given subcutaneously three times weekly). The primary end point was progression-free survival. Secondary end points included the objective response rate, overall survival, patient-reported outcomes, and safety. The median progression-free survival was significantly longer in the sunitinib group (11 months) than in the interferon alfa group (5 months), corresponding to a hazard ratio of 0.42 (95% confidence interval, 0.32 to 0.54; P<0.001). Sunitinib was also associated with a higher objective response rate than was interferon alfa (31% vs. 6%, P<0.001). The proportion of patients with grade 3 or 4 treatment-related fatigue was significantly higher in the group treated with interferon alfa, whereas diarrhea was more frequent in the sunitinib group (P<0.05). Patients in the sunitinib group reported a significantly better quality of life than did patients in the interferon alfa group (P<0.001). Progression-free survival was longer and response rates were higher in patients with metastatic renal-cell cancer who received sunitinib than in those receiving interferon alfa (ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00098657 and NCT00083889 [ClinicalTrials.gov]). Copyright 2007 Massachusetts Medical Society.

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          Most cited references 17

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          A randomized trial of bevacizumab, an anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody, for metastatic renal cancer.

          Mutations in the tumor-suppressor gene VHL cause oversecretion of vascular endothelial growth factor by clear-cell renal carcinomas. We conducted a clinical trial to evaluate bevacizumab, a neutralizing antibody against vascular endothelial growth factor, in patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma. A randomized, double-blind, phase 2 trial was conducted comparing placebo with bevacizumab at doses of 3 and 10 mg per kilogram of body weight, given every two weeks; the time to progression of disease and the response rate were primary end points. Crossover from placebo to antibody treatment was allowed, and survival was a secondary end point. Minimal toxic effects were seen, with hypertension and asymptomatic proteinuria predominating. The trial was stopped after the interim analysis met the criteria for early stopping. With 116 patients randomly assigned to treatment groups (40 to placebo, 37 to low-dose antibody, and 39 to high-dose antibody), there was a significant prolongation of the time to progression of disease in the high-dose--antibody group as compared with the placebo group (hazard ratio, 2.55; P 0.20 for all comparisons). Bevacizumab can significantly prolong the time to progression of disease in patients with metastatic renal-cell cancer. Copyright 2003 Massachusetts Medical Society
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            Mutations of the VHL tumour suppressor gene in renal carcinoma.

            Multiple, bilateral renal carcinomas are a frequent occurrence in von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease. To elucidate the aetiological role of the VHL gene in human kidney tumorigenesis, localized and advanced tumours from 110 patients with sporadic renal carcinoma were analysed for VHL mutations and loss of heterozygosity (LOH). VHL mutations were identified in 57% of clear cell renal carcinomas analysed and LOH was observed in 98% of those samples. Moreover, VHL was mutated and lost in a renal tumour from a patient with familial renal carcinoma carrying the constitutional translocation, t(3;8)(p14;q24). The identification of VHL mutations in a majority of localized and advanced sporadic renal carcinomas and in a second form of hereditary renal carcinoma indicates that the VHL gene plays a critical part in the origin of this malignancy.
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              Interferon-alfa as a comparative treatment for clinical trials of new therapies against advanced renal cell carcinoma.

              To define outcome data and prognostic criteria for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated with interferon-alfa as initial systemic therapy. The data can be applied to design and interpretation of clinical trials of new agents and treatment programs against this refractory malignancy. Four hundred sixty-three patients with advanced RCC administered interferon-alpha as first-line systemic therapy on six prospective clinical trials were the subjects of this retrospective analysis. Three risk categories for predicting survival were identified on the basis of five pretreatment clinical features by a stratified Cox proportional hazards model. The median overall survival time was 13 months. The median time to progression was 4.7 months. Five variables were used as risk factors for short survival: low Karnofsky performance status, high lactate dehydrogenase, low serum hemoglobin, high corrected serum calcium, and time from initial RCC diagnosis to start of interferon-alpha therapy of less than one year. Each patient was assigned to one of three risk groups: those with zero risk factors (favorable risk), those with one or two (intermediate risk), and those with three or more (poor risk). The median time to death of patients deemed favorable risk was 30 months. Median survival time in the intermediate-risk group was 14 months. In contrast, the poor-risk group had a median survival time of 5 months. Progression-free and overall survival with interferon-alpha treatment can be compared with new therapies in phase II and III clinical investigations. The prognostic model is suitable for risk stratification of phase III trials using interferon-alpha as the comparative treatment arm.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                January 11 2007
                January 11 2007
                : 356
                : 2
                : 115-124
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa065044
                17215529
                © 2007
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