New Drug Shows Promise for Patients with Advanced Kidney Cancer

Pictured: Robert Motzer

Medical oncologist Robert Motzer

People with advanced kidney cancer may have a new alternative in their limited arsenal of treatment options that are both well tolerated and effective against the disease. New research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering has shown that the investigational drug tivozanib is more effective than an approved targeted therapy called sorafenib (Nexavar®) in delaying the growth of their cancer.

“These findings are important because it’s the first time a drug has resulted in an average progression-free survival for more than one year among patients who have had no prior treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma,” said medical oncologist Robert J. Motzer, principal investigator of the phase III randomized clinical trial that included more than 500 patients.

Tivozanib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed to specifically block all three vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors — a selective approach that minimizes toxicities.

The international study also demonstrated that tivozanib — a once-daily oral medication — was better tolerated than sorafenib, causing fewer and less severe side effects and a decreased need for dose interruptions and reductions, which may compromise how well a treatment works.

“The results of our work represent a potential step forward for patients living with this disease,” added Dr. Motzer, who will present the research data at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) on June 2.

Dr. Motzer’s work at Memorial Sloan Kettering has contributed to the development of various targeted drugs that interfere with molecular factors important to kidney cancer growth.

Researchers continue to evaluate tivozanib in people with kidney cancer and with other tumors.


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Is the new drug tivozanib generally available to newly diagnosed kidney cancer patients?

Dr. Motzer says that this drug is still experimental, and has not yet been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for general use in treating kidney cancer. Thank you for your comment!

If you have been diagnosed with Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma (papillary), no drug regiment of any kind has been prescribed (2 tumors extracted). What are the chances you can get on a trial that will help get on this medication? Where do you go to participate in the trial? Can you advise on this? Any help would be appreciated, our family is devastated. With sincere thanks.

Unfortunately, we can’t answer specific medical questions on our blog. If you would like to make an appointment with a Memorial Sloan-Kettering physician, please call our Physician Referral Service at 800-525-2225.

During the clinical trials did Tivozanib show a higher ORR in non-clear cell than ccRCC? More specifically, I read somewhere that it actually showed more activity controlling Papillary RCC than the other specified subtypes.
Does it look like it has the potential to be the first suggested VEGF drug 1st line treatment for Papillary RCC?


Matt, thanks for your question. According to medical oncologist Robert Motzer, the study was exclusively conducted in patients with advanced, clear cell kidney cancer. There was a smaller phase 2 trial conducted outside the United States that mostly included patients with clear cell tumors. A minority of patients in that trial had non-clear cell kidney tumors and it appeared that tivosanib was less active in that group.

which is the preferred tyrosine kinase inhibitor for stage IV clear cell renal CA with liver metastasis (numerous)? votrient or tivozanib? If tivozanib is not currently available for patients-in your opinion, which is your preferred drug of choice for liver mets? Torisel?

Thanks for your comment! We are unable to address specific medical questions on our blog, as patients are treated individually. If you would like to make an appointment with a Memorial Sloan-Kettering physician, please call 800-525-2225.

Stage 1 , grade 3 clear rcc removed in partial nephrectomy 8-7-14 with clear margins. 2-13-15 Mri found 9mm and 1.3 cm lesions on liver . CT's before and after surgery showed one of two lesions. Biopsy on lesions soon. I'm advised renal cancer metastasis is incurable. What treatment options are available?

Dear Gary, we are sorry to hear about your diagnosis. We can’t offer any personal medical advice on the blog. If you would like to make a consultation with one of our specialists for a consultation to discuss what treatment options may be appropriate for you, please call our Referral Service at 800-525-2225. Thank you for reaching out to us.

Is tivozanib available now?I noticed this article is from 2012.