A cocktail of drugs against kidney cancer

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BOSTON – A mix of drugs has proved effective in countering kidney cancer and could become a first-line treatment for treating the disease. This is supported by research by the Dana-Faber Cancer Institute in Boston, published in the New England journal of Medicine. Patients who received the immunotherapeutic avelumab and target axitinib therapy had a significant advantage in progression-free survival compared to those who received only sunitinib (Sutent), the standard treatment for renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer.

I study

"The patients who received the combination of drugs also had a higher response rate which means that their tumors regressed something that did not happen to the group receiving the other therapy," explains Toni K. Choueiri, MD, author senior and of Javelin Renal 101 and director of the Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology of Dana-Farber.It could therefore be a new way to treat this form of urological cancer. The research involved 886 patients with previously untreated and advanced renal cell carcinoma who received the combination of drugs or sunitinib alone. It is a disease that affects men the most: in one case out of three.

The duration of therapy

Median progression-free survival (the time period before cancer began to worsen) was 13.8 months in the combined group and 7.2 months in patients receiving only sunitinib. These results were specifically applied to patients whose tumor cells were positive for the Pd-L1 checkpoint that is blocked by the avelumab.
The percentage of patients whose tumors were classified was 55.2 percent with avelumib plus axitinib and 25.5 percent with sunnib in patients who were positive for Pd-L1."A year ago we studied the toxicity of this combination of drugs on 55 people and it went well. It gives a good answer on metastatic patients. They are patients who can't do chemo because it doesn't work in kidney cancer, "Choueiri adds.

On other tumors

Now the researchers hope to be able to receive the approval of the Food and Drug Administration therapy as soon as possible. And in the meantime the tests will continue to confirm the results of the research. "This treatment can work – Choueiri concedes – even on other tumors such as cancer and bladder. A new road has opened up. We have to do other experiments in this direction ".

Every year, 38,000 Italians over the age of 70 are diagnosed with urological cancer. The most frequent is the prostate that has less clinical impact than other tumors because in a non-negligible percentage of cases it results in an asymptomatic latent form, especially in the over 80. Carcinoma of the kidney and, to a greater extent, that of the bladder they have a remarkable clinical expression. In addition, these tumors have shown an increase in incidence in recent years, particularly in people of advanced age. The number of kidney cancer cases has increased by 7% in the last five years.

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