Reviewed by Michael Gill, B. Sc.
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Most Recent Sutent Clinical Trials

What Are Sutent Clinical Trials?

Sutent, or sunitinib, is an oral medication that treats several types of advanced cancers, including kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) – a rare cancer of the esophagus, stomach, and bowel, and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET) that are non-surgical. Sutent is a targeted drug as opposed to standard chemotherapy medications.

It is a standard of care treatment and has radically advanced therapy for RCC. Sunitinib was initially approved for RCC, but its use has been expanded and continues to be studied in treating other types of cancers.

Why Is Sutent Being Studied In Clinical Trials?

Sunitinib is a front-line treatment for RCC and other cancers. Clinical studies are looking at the effectiveness of combination treatments with this medication. Researchers are also studying adjuvant treatment and patients with a high risk of recurrence after surgery. Adjuvant therapy is treatment after an initial run of treatment for cancer to suppress secondary tumor formation.

Sunitinib is also being investigated as a potential treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a degenerative muscle disease that causes premature death in children. Sunitinib shows regenerative effects and an increase in the production of muscle force.

How Does Sutent Treatment Work?

Sutent works by interrupting cell receptors that allow cells to communicate and control certain biological functions. These receptors, called receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), can trigger tumor growth and metastatic progression in cancer. Kinases are enzymes that regulate protein biological activity. Sutent interrupts kinase activity to inhibit tumor spread and growth.

What Are Some of the Breakthrough Clinical Trials Involving Sutent?

Several studies have evaluated Sutent. Some of the most impactful studies are:

2006: Sunitinib and Renal Cell Carcinoma – Two clinical trials showed unprecedented antitumor activity in patients with RCC. This proved to be a turning point in RCC therapy.

2007: Sunitinib/Interferon alfa and Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma – This clinical trial, conducted by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, found that sunitinib is more successful than interferon alfa in progression-free survival for RCC as a first-line treatment. Median progression-free survival was 11 months as opposed to five months for interferon alfa.

2019: Sunitinib and Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) – This study evaluated sunitinib in treating muscle disease in mice. Results showed that Sunitinib could promote muscle regeneration as a future treatment for the muscular disease.

Who Are The Key Opinion Leaders On Sutent Clinical Trial Research?

Robert J. Motzer is a medical oncologist and the section head for kidney cancer and genitourinary oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Motzer was an investigator or co-investigator of several groundbreaking clinical trials for RCC and advanced kidney cancer.

Thomas Powles is a genitourinary oncology professor and the Director of Barts Cancer Centre at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital. Dr. Powles is conducting significant contemporary research on treating cancers using sunitinib and in combination with other medications.

Dror Michaelson is a physician and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Michaelson has investigated the effects of combined sunitinib with other medications in treating RCC and other cancers.

About The Author

Michael Gill preview

Michael Gill - B. Sc.

First Published: October 22nd, 2021

Last Reviewed: November 10th, 2022

Michael Gill holds a Bachelors of Science in Integrated Science and Mathematics from McMaster University. During his degree he devoted considerable time modeling the pharmacodynamics of promising drug candidates. Since then, he has leveraged this knowledge of the investigational new drug ecosystem to help his father navigate clinical trials for multiple myeloma, an experience which prompted him to co-found Power Life Sciences: a company that helps patients access randomized controlled trials.

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