Targeted drug shows promise in rare advanced kidney cancer

June 23, 2017

Some patients with a form of advanced kidney cancer that carries a poor prognosis benefited from an experimental drug targeted to an abnormal genetic pathway causing cancerous growth, according to research led by a Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientist.

The drug, savolitinib, showed clinical activity in patients with metastatic papillary (PRCC) whose tumors were driven by overactivity of the MET signaling pathway, but was not effective for patients whose tumors lacked the MET abnormality, said the investigators, led by Toni Choueiri, MD, director, Lank Center for Genitourinary Oncology, and director, Kidney Cancer Center, both of Dana-Farber.

These results from a single-arm, multicenter phase II clinical trial, reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, suggest that savolitinib holds promise as a personalized treatment for a subgroup of patients with metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma, the researchers said.

In the US alone, about 6,400 cases of PRCC are expected to be diagnosed in 2017, compared to a total of 64,000 cases of kidney cancers. The majority of them are classified as clear cell renal cell cancers. Papillary renal cell carcinoma are non-clear cell kidney cancers. No good treatments exist for advanced or metastatic PRCC.

The current trial tested savolitinib, a potent and selective MET inhibitor, in 109 patients with locally advanced or metastatic PRCC. Of the 109 patients, 40 percent had tumors driven by MET, 42 percent had tumors that did not rely on MET, and MET status was unknown in 17 percent of patients.

When the results were analyzed, 18 percent of patients with MET-driven cancers had significant shrinkage of their tumors, and 50 percent had stable disease. By contrast, none of the patients with MET-independent tumors had shrinkage response, and only 24 percent had stable disease.

In addition, the length of time after treatment before the began growing was significantly longer in the MET-driven group - 6.2 months versus 1.4 months.

"These data support the hypothesis that savolitinib has antitumor activity in patients with MET-driven papillary renal cell carcinoma," the authors wrote. "Our study identified a defined molecular group and highlights the prevalence of MET-driven disease in this rare population of RCC patients."

Although some patients had their dosage of savolitinib reduced and two discontinued treatment because of side effects, the researchers said the drug was generally well-tolerated.

Explore further: New models of kidney cancer may drive immunotherapy research

Related Stories

New models of kidney cancer may drive immunotherapy research

June 9, 2017
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center scientists have developed preclinical laboratory models of the two most common types of kidney cancer, an advancement that may aid in the evaluation of novel ...

Study finds surgery can lengthen survival of metastatic kidney cancer patients

June 20, 2016
Surgery to remove a cancerous kidney can often lengthen the lives of patients receiving targeted therapy for metastatic kidney cancer, but only about three in ten such patients undergo the procedure, according to a new study ...

Combination of new drug, CB-839, with everolimus stops advanced kidney tumors growing

November 30, 2016
Munich, Germany: The first drug to target a key enzyme that cancer cells need to keep them alive has shown that it is effective in controlling disease in patients with advanced kidney cancer when it is used in combination ...

New drug beats standard therapy in advanced kidney cancer

November 15, 2016
An experimental kidney cancer drug outperformed the standard first-line therapy for patients with metastatic disease who are considered at risk for poorer than average outcomes, according to results of a randomized phase ...

Study clarifies best treatments for uncommon kidney cancers

May 18, 2015
A head-to-head comparison of two biologic therapies used to treat a subset of patients with advanced kidney cancers provides much-needed clarity on the preferred treatment for the first line of attack.

New drug improves outcome in treatment resistant kidney cancer

September 28, 2015
A new drug has been found superior to current treatments in slowing the growth of advanced kidney cancer in patients who became resistant to the first-line therapies that had kept it in check, according to results from a ...

Recommended for you

Scientists unlock structure of mTOR, a key cancer cell signaling protein

December 14, 2017
Researchers in the Sloan Kettering Institute have solved the structure of an important signaling molecule in cancer cells. They used a new technology called cryo-EM to visualize the structure in three dimensions. The detailed ...

Newest data links inflammation to chemo-brain

December 14, 2017
Inflammation in the blood plays a key role in "chemo-brain," according to a published pilot study that provides evidence for what scientists have long believed.

One in five young colon cancer patients have genetic link

December 13, 2017
As doctors grapple with increasing rates of colorectal cancers in young people, new research from the University of Michigan may offer some insight into how the disease developed and how to prevent further cancers. Researchers ...

New strategy for unleashing cancer-fighting power of p53 gene

December 13, 2017
Tumor protein p53 is one of the most critical determinants of the fate of cancer cells, as it can determine whether a cell lives or dies in response to stress. In a new study published today in the journal Nature Communications, ...

Researchers develop test that can diagnose two cancer types

December 12, 2017
A blood test using infrared spectroscopy can be used to diagnose two types of cancer, lymphoma and melanoma, according to a study led by Georgia State University.

Cancer-causing mutation suppresses immune system around tumours

December 12, 2017
Mutations in 'Ras' genes, which drive 25% of human cancers by causing tumour cells to grow, multiply and spread, can also protect cancer cells from the immune system, finds a new study from the Francis Crick Institute and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.