According to a recently published study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the targeted agent, COMETRIQ® (cabozantinib), significantly improves the time to cancer progression and survival compared to Afinitor® (everolimus) in patients with advanced kidney cancer whose cancer has progressed following VEGRF-targeted therapy.

Each year in the United States, more than 58,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which starts in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney. For people with advanced RCC (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body), targeted therapies can play an important role in treatment. Renal cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that tends to respond well to VEGFR-targeted therapy. Unfortunately, kidney cancers also tend to become resistant to therapy with VEGFR-targeted agents.

The VEGFR (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor) is part of a biologic pathway that is responsible for the growth of new blood vessels, which bring the necessary nutrients via the blood for the cancer cells to grow. VEGFR-targeted agents block the VEGFR pathway and decrease the ability of new blood vessels to grow.

COMETRIQ is an oral, small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) as well as other biologic pathways involved in the spread of kidney cancer.  COMETRIQ was recently approved for the treatment of medullary thyroid cancer.

COMETRIQ targets the VEGFR and Researchers recently conducted a clinical trial in 658 patients with RCC whose cancer had progressed after VEGFR-targeted therapy. Patients were treated with either COMETRIQ or Afinitor and directly compared.

The average time to cancer progression was 7.4 months for patients treated with COMETRIQ, compared to only 3.8 months for those treated with Afinitor. COMETRIQ was reasonably well tolerated, and longer follow up is required to ascertain the true overall survival benefit.

Reference: Choueiri T, Escudier B, Powles T, et al. Cabozantinib versus everolimus in advanced renal-cell carcinoma. New England Journal of Medicine. September 25, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1510016.


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