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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Aug 1;26(22):3743-8. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.15.5416.

Antitumor activity and biomarker analysis of sunitinib in patients with bevacizumab-refractory metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Solid Tumor Oncology and Urology, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Desk R35, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA.



To assess the safety and efficacy of sunitinib in patients with bevacizumab-refractory metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and explore biomarkers for sunitinib response.


Patients with mRCC and disease progression after bevacizumab-based therapy received oral sunitinib 50 mg once daily in 6-week cycles on a 4/2 schedule (4 weeks with treatment followed by 2 weeks without treatment) in a phase II multicenter study. The primary end point was objective response rate (ORR). Secondary end points included progression-free survival (PFS), duration of response (DR), overall survival (OS), and safety. Plasma soluble proteins (vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF]-A, VEGF-C, soluble VEGF receptor [sVEGFR]-3, and placental growth factor [PlGF]) levels were measured.


Sixty-one patients were enrolled. The ORR was 23.0% (95% CI, 13.2% to 35.5%), median PFS was 30.4 weeks (95% CI, 18.3 to 36.7 weeks), median DR was 44.1 weeks (95% CI, 25.0 to 102.7 weeks), and median OS was 47.1 weeks (95% CI, 36.9 to 79.4 weeks). Mean plasma VEGF-A and PlGF levels significantly increased whereas VEGF-C and sVEGFR-3 levels decreased with sunitinib treatment. Lower baseline levels of sVEGFR-3 and VEGF-C were associated with longer PFS and ORR. Most treatment-related adverse events were of mild-to-moderate intensity and included fatigue, hypertension, and hand-foot syndrome.


Sunitinib has substantial antitumor activity in patients with bevacizumab-refractory mRCC and modulates circulating VEGF pathway biomarkers. These data support the hypothesis that sunitinib inhibits signaling pathways involved in bevacizumab resistance. Baseline levels of sVEGFR-3 and VEGF-C may have potential utility as biomarkers of clinical efficacy in this setting.

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