The UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has cleared Sutent (sunitinib malate) for use as a second-line treatment for advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST).
It had previously recommended the Pfizer drug for the first-line treatment of advanced kidney cancer.
In the case of GIST, use is dependent on the patient having an Eastern Co-operative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0 or 1, and having reached the point where imatinib mesylate is no longer effective.
Says NICE: “The benefits seen in time to tumour progression and progression-free survival were such that a substantial improvement in overall survival with sunitinib treatment was probable.”
And says Pfizer’s Dr Mace Rothenberg: “NICE’s decision gives hope to patients with GIST who develop resistance to imatinib. Insights into the causative pathways involved with cancers like GIST will help us bring Sutent to the right patient at the right time.”
GIST belongs to a group of rare cancers called soft tissue sarcomas found in muscle, fat, fibrous tissue, blood vessels or other supporting tissue of the body.
Copyright Press Association 2009