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Oral Multikinase Inhibitors
Unlike conventional chemotherapy, which is administered intravenously, a number of angiogenesis inhibitors, including sunitinib and sorafenib, are taken in pill form. These drugs are often referred to as ‘targeted’ therapies because they are designed to affect specific cell receptors present on tumor blood vessels. By interfering with the signals created by these receptors, the drugs block a tumor’s ability to grow new blood vessels. Both sunitinib and sorafenib target the receptor for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), key protein growth factor involved in anigiogenesis. Sorafenib also targets another protein called Raf, which has been shown to be instrumental in the development of kidney cancer. Through these actions, sunitinib and sorafenib strike at kidney cancer cells and interfere with their blood supply, disrupting tumor growth.

In a major phase 3 clinical trial involving 750 patients with advanced kidney cancer who had received no prior treatment, the angiogenesis inhibitor sunitinib more than doubled the amount of time patients lived without their disease getting worse, a measure known as progression-free survival (PFS), compared to patients who received only standard interferon immunotherapy (11 months compared with 5 months).2 In a separate clinical trial, the antiangiogenic drug sorafenib also significantly improved PFS in kidney cancer patients who had experienced disease progression despite being treated with immunotherapy.3


Last updated May 29, 2011