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Management of metastatic renal cell carcinoma in the era of targeted therapies

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Background:  Metastatic renal cell cancer is associated with poor prognosis and survival and is resistant to conventional chemotherapy. Therapeutic targeting of molecular pathways for tumour angiogenesis and other specific activation mechanisms offers improved tumour response and prolonged survival.

Aims:  To conduct a retrospective audit of metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients treated with targeted therapies.

Methods:  Data were extracted from clinical records of patients undergoing targeted treatment between 2005 and 2009 at two hospital sites. Data collected included pathology, systemic therapy class, toxicity and survival. Univariate and multivariate survival analyses were performed.

Results:  Sixty‐one patients were treated with 102 lines of therapy with a median overall survival (OS) of 23 months, median time to failure of first‐line treatment (TTF1) of 10 months and median time to failure of second‐line treatment (TTF2) of 5.2 months. Time from first diagnosis to treatment >12 months was significantly associated with improved OS, longer TTF1, TTF2 and response to first‐line anti‐vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors (anti‐VEGF TKI) therapy. Variables associated with tumour biology, natural history and the systemic inflammatory response were associated with improved OS and TTF1. Development of hypertension was predictive of anti‐VEGF TKI outcome. Toxicities were as expected for each drug class.

Conclusions:  Survival and toxicity outcomes from two Australian sites are comparable to published data. The adverse event profile differs to conventional chemotherapy. Clinicians caring for patients with metastatic renal cancer will need to become familiar with these toxicities and their management as these agents enter widespread use.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Medical Oncology Unit, The Canberra Hospital

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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