Monday, April 12, 2010

SUTENT: Kidney Cancer Wonder or Killer Drug?

Sometime in 26 December 2009, I received a visitor most probably from USA and she commented:

Can i suggest that you look at the Kidney Cancer Sites ie james Whale Fund in the UK or KC uk or KCAssociation in the USA or KC Canada

I would be asking for Sutent immediaitely at 50mg per day 4 weeks on 3 weeks off. There are side effects but the alternative is a premature death. it is NOT an experimental drug it has been in use for 5/6 years in the USA and used in over 50 Countries very succesfully and some people at stage 4 KC have been taking the drug for 5 years and more . If you don't want to have a nephrectomy operation ( which is called debulking when the cancer has already spread outside the capsule) then Sutent could give you many months additional life.

there are many resources for KC online.

I hope you find what you need to make an informed desision.

I send you my best wishes, fellow KC patient Rose Woodward.

I am wondering how she is faring?

I have said I am not too keen on Sutent, not just because I could not afford the treatment, but also because I think it may not be effective. My urologist's only two patients did not respond to it and today I found some new information about Sutent from the website. One patient, posted his experience on Youtube about 3 months before he died on 30 April 2009. For more information, please see

I have reproduced some information about Sutent from there:


* Approval for kidney cancer was based on a review of the drug's efficacy in reducing tumor size. Approval of the GIST was mainly based on studies showing that sunitinib delay tumor growth.
* Sutent shrank tumors in 26% to 37% of patients, according to the FDA. Studies have not yet shown that Sutent improves survival.
* Liz Szabo, USA TODAY Jan 26, 2006, wrote: Sutent doesn't cure cancer, but experts say it is an important advance – both for patients and for science. Sutent is a product by Pfizer. Another drug used to treat advanced kidney cancer is Nexavar by Bayer.
* The median OS for patients receiving SUTENT was 26.4 months vs 21.8 months with IFNα (Note: IFN-α has been used extensively in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Human IFN-α1 is a type I interferon. It is for research use only, not for diagnostic or therapeutic use)

Side effects
The adverse events included:

* Tiredness, headache, weakness, dizziness
* Diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, constipation
* Loss of appetite, weight loss
* Change in skin colour or hair colour
* Tingling or rash on palms of hands or soles of feet
* Hand –foot syndrome (Palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia or PPE) –skin rash, swelling, redness, pain and/or peeling of the skin on the palms of hands and soles of feet.
* Rashes, dry skin, skin redness, scaly skin, itchy skin, blister
* Sore tongue, sore mouth, dry mouth
* Upset stomach, abdominal pain, wind, heart burn, indigestion
* Generalized aches and pains, muscle pain, joint pain, back pain, pain in fingers, arms or legs
* Very bad abdominal pain
* Tingling or numbness of hands or feet; pins and needles
* Increased tearing, watery eyes
* Shortness of breath
* Rash, flatulence, dehydration
* Hair loss
* Cough, Nose bleed
* Difficulty sleeping , depression
* Unusual urine colour
* Shortness of breath, wheezing or trouble breathing, chest pain
* Swelling of feet, legs or ankles , leg pain, face or eyelids
* Low potassium levels, increased bilirubin levels
* Flu-like symptoms (chills, fever, sore throat, swollen glands)
* High blood pressure (hypertension)
* Fits, Seizure
* Increased amylase and lipase levels

The most serious adverse events associated with Sutent therapy included

· pulmonary embolism
· thrombocytopenia
· bleeding from the tumor bleeding or bruising under the skin; coughing blood
· febrile neutropenia
· hypertension
· may harm an unborn baby (cause birth defects). Do not become pregnant. Do not breastfeed while taking SUTENT.
· may cause heart problems.
· may cause a hole in the stomach or bowel wall. This could cause symptoms such as painful, swollen abdomen, vomiting or coughing blood, and black, sticky s tools.

Recent research findings on Sutent

Researchers in Canada had reported that Sutent accelerated metastatic tumour growth and decreased overall survival in mice receiving short-term therapy (Cancer Cell 15: 232-239. March 2009).

Using mouse model researchers in Spain and California, USA, also showed that Sutent promoted the incidence of highly invasive tumours. The incidence of liver micrometastases was significantly increased by 3.5-fold in treated animal (Cancer Cell 15:220-231. March 2009).


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