During a multicenter phase II clinical trial, the experimental drug Savolitinib, showed promise in treating certain patients who have advanced kidney cancer. The results were published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
During the trial, Savolitinib, which is a powerful and selective MET inhibitor, showed activity in patients who have metastatic papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC) and whose tumors were driven by over activity in the MET signaling pathway. However, the drug did not prove effective for PRCC patients who do not have the MET abnormality.
Papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC) is a type of cancer that forms in the very small tubes, that are responsible for filtering, within the lining of the kidneys. PRCC is often referred to as renal cell cancer. Among all types of kidney cancer, it is the second most common.
It is expected that in 2017, approximately 64,000 cases of kidney cancer will be diagnosed, of which 6,400 cases will be PRCC. Most kidney cancers are classified as clear cell renal cell cancers. However, PRCC are classified as non-clear. At this time, there are not any good treatments for metastatic or advanced PRCC.
The Savolitinib trial, which was led by Dr. Tony Choueiri with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, included 109 patients who had been diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic PRCC. Of those patients, 40 percent had tumors with a MET abnormality, 42 percent had tumors that did not have the MET abnormality, and 17 percent had an unknown MET status.
Results of the clinical trial showed that 18 percent of the patients who had a MET abnormality had the size of their tumors shrink significantly; 50 percent had stable disease. No tumor shrinkage was seen in any of the patients who did not have a MET abnormality; 24 percent had stable disease. For patients with a MET abnormality, there was a significant gap between the time treatment was administered and when the cancer started to grow – 6.2 months compared to 1.4 months.
Clinical findings show that Savolitinib demonstrates antitumor abilities in patients who have been diagnosed with PRCC and have a MET abnormality. While the drug was generally well tolerated, the dosages were reduced for some patients and two others discontinued use due to side effects.
By Trixie Dillwood
Photo Courtesy Dana-Farber Cancer Institute