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ASCO 2017: Alternate Schedule of Sunitinib in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma

Based on the findings of a phase II trial presented at the 2017 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstract 4513), an alternate schedule of sunitinib (2 weeks on, 1 week off [2/1] did not reduce the rate of grade 3 or higher adverse events associated with the standard 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off (4/2) schedule in patients being treated for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. However, Eric Jonasch, MD, of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues noted the “robust” response rate and prolonged progression-free survival with the 2/1 schedule may be suggestive of long-term tolerability.

Thus, for some patients who develop toxicity on the standard 4/2 schedule of sunitinib, it may be possible for them to “stop the drug and give themselves a break to allow their normal tissues to heal and then get back on the therapy,” stated Dr. Jonasch in a recent interview.

A total of 60 patients took part in this multicenter, single-arm study. Of these patients, nearly 25% (14 of 59) had grade 3 or higher fatigue, diarrhea, or hand-foot syndrome, which the investigators considered similar to the average rate with 4/2 schedules. Among the 59 evaluable patients, the progression-free survival was 19.3 months, and 59% of patients required dose reduction.