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Kidney Cancer Immunotherapy: Reasons for Cautious Optimism

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Immunotherapy Forum Video #21: Dr. Sumanta (Monty) Pal reviews the past, present, and future of immunotherapy for kidney cancer and expresses concern about early study results of newer treatments.


Older adults and sunitinib: A formal evaluation

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With many cancer therapies, we always wonder about the potential impact and relevance in an elderly population. Dr. Hutson and colleagues recently published a report in the British Journal of Cancer in January of 2014 formally assessing this in the context of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. In their study, they pooled data from 1059 patients that were treated across six clinical trials that utilized the agent sunitinib. Ultimately, what Dr. Hutson and his colleagues demonstrated is that the delay in tumor growth, known as progression free survival, seemed to be pretty comparable between younger and older patients. Specifically amongst younger patients median progression free survival was 9.9 months versus 11 months in older patients.  In addition to this, there were no significant differences in terms of median overall survival when patients received first line therapy with sunitinib. Notably, there were several toxicities that seemed to be more common in older adults as compared to younger adults. These toxicities included fatigue, cough, edema or swelling, as well as anemia, a low blood count, decreased appetite, and low platelet counts. Interestingly, the study found that hand-foot syndrome was more common in younger patients. These study results really seem to indicate that we shouldn’t be ageist in prescribing drugs for renal cell carcinoma, such as sunitinib. I would suggest that similar studies are warranted across other targeted agents that are currently in use for the disease.


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