Phase 2 trial of sunitinib and gemcitabine in patients with sarcomatoid and/or poor-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma

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Michaelson M.D., Mckay R.R., Werner L., Atkins M.B., Van Allen E.M., Olivier K.M., Song J., Signoretti S., Mcdermott D.F., Choueiri T.K.

Cancer 2015

BACKGROUND: Sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is associated with an aggressive biology and a poor prognosis. Poor-risk RCC is defined by clinical prognostic factors and demonstrates similarly aggressive behavior. No standard treatment exists for patients with sarcomatoid RCC, and treatment options for patients with poor-risk disease are of limited benefit. The objective of this study was to investigate the efficacy of antiangiogenic therapy in combination with cytotoxic chemotherapy in clinically aggressive RCC. METHODS: This was a phase 2, single-arm trial of sunitinib and gemcitabine in patients with sarcomatoid or poor-risk RCC. The primary endpoint was the objective response rate (ORR). Secondary endpoints included the time to progression (TTP), overall survival (OS), safety, and biomarker correlatives. RESULTS: Overall, 39 patients had sarcomatoid RCC, and 33 had poor-risk RCC. The ORR was 26% for patients with sarcomatoid RCC and 24% for patients with poor-risk RCC. The median TTP and OS for patients with sarcomatoid RCC were 5 and 10 months, respectively. For patients with poor-risk disease, the median TTP and OS were 5.5 and 15 months, respectively. Patients whose tumors had >10% sarcomatoid histology had a higher clinical benefit rate (ORR plus stable disease) than those with ?10% sarcomatoid histology (P=.04). The most common grade 3 or higher treatment-related adverse events included neutropenia (n=20), anemia (n=10), and fatigue (n=7). CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that antiangiogenic therapy and cytotoxic chemotherapy are an active and well-tolerated combination for patients with aggressive RCC. The combination may be more efficacious than either therapy alone and is currently under further investigation.


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