Sutent tops kidney-cancer drug scrips

Here's a quiz for you: Which kidney cancer drug is prescribed most for new patients? It's one of four newish drugs that came onto the renal-disease scene in recent years and quickly captured the market: Sutent from Pfizer, Nexavar from Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Torisel from Wyeth, and Avastin from Genetech and Roche.

If you said Sutent, you're right. The Pfizer drug is "showing the most promise" as a first-line therapy, according to a new report from Datamonitor. But ironically, the most-prescribed second-line treatment--Nexavar--may not be the most effective choice in patients who started out on Sutent, the report states. Both drugs, you see, work by inhibiting angiogenesis, or blood-vessel growth. Torisel, on the other hand, targets a protein that's vital to tumor growth, and it's the only one of the fourth that's proven to increase overall survival, not just progression-free survival.

Regardless, there's still lots of room for new renal-cancer remedies, Datamonitor concludes. Experts think that, like other cancers, renal cancer will respond best to drug combinations rather than individual treatments.

- see this release for more

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