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1.  Sunitinib treatment enabling resection of massive liver metastasis: a case report 
Sunitinib was developed as a molecular-targeted drug to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma. It is not yet known whether liver damage occurs in patients with liver metastases of renal cell carcinoma after sunitinib administration. Here, we report the case of a patient with an inoperable massive liver metastasis of renal cell carcinoma for whom sunitinib administration was dramatically effective with no obvious evidence of liver damage. As a result, the liver metastasis could be resected. We emphasize the dramatic reduction in liver metastasis with sunitinib treatment, and the histopathological effects of sunitinib on the non-tumorous liver parenchyma.
Case presentation
A 54-year-old Japanese woman was diagnosed with right renal cell carcinoma and underwent right nephrectomy 12 years earlier. She presented to a local clinic with right abdominal pain. A computed tomography scan showed a massive liver metastasis occupying her right hepatic lobe, and she was referred to our hospital for treatment. The diagnosis was not only liver metastasis, but also left renal metastasis. Oral administration of tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib was started. Adverse events due to sunitinib included liver dysfunction, thrombocytopenia, and decreased hemoglobin, but she completed eight courses with the help of drug holidays and dose adjustments. Post-treatment computed tomography showed a dramatic reduction in size of her liver metastasis, enabling right lobectomy of her liver. Histopathological findings showed no obvious liver damage due to chemotherapy in non-cancerous parenchymal areas.
With the availability of sunitinib, some patients with potentially unresectable massive liver metastases of renal cell carcinoma may be able to undergo major hepatectomy curatively and safely with little histopathological damage to non-tumorous liver parenchyma, thus improving their prognosis.
PMCID: PMC3874753  PMID: 24090151
Chemotherapy; Liver damage; Liver metastasectomy; Liver metastasis; Renal cell carcinoma; Sunitinib
2.  Drug-induced immune-mediated thrombocytopenia secondary to sunitinib in a patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma: a case report 
Sunitinib is an oral multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor approved for first line treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma and imatinib-resistant metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Sunitinib administration can cause myelosuppression resulting in neutropenia and thrombocytopenia. Here we present the case of a patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who developed sunitinib-induced immune-mediated thrombocytopenia and who was treated with withdrawal of sunitinib and administration of intravenous immunoglobulin and steroids.
Case presentation
This case report describes a 70-year-old Aboriginal Australian with a diagnosis of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Three weeks after the initiation of sunitinib he developed epistaxis and was admitted with thrombocytopenia (platelets 7 × 109/L) which was found to be refractory to platelet transfusion. Sunitinib was stopped and he was treated with intravenous immunoglobulin and steroids. His platelet count rapidly improved and returned to baseline in three weeks. Only two cases of sunitinib-induced immune-mediated thrombocytopenia have been described in the literature.
Clinicians should have a high index of suspicion for the potential of immune-mediated thrombocytopenia after the initiation of multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as sunitinib. This is a diagnosis of exclusion and can be safely treated by drug withdrawal.
PMCID: PMC3599754  PMID: 23442444
Metastatic renal cell carcinoma; Sunitinib; Thrombocytopenia
3.  Sunitinib: a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor. A brief review of its therapeutic potential in the treatment of renal carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) 
Sunitinib malate is a novel oral multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor with antitumor and antiangiogenic activities. Sunitinib was recently approved in first-line treatment for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and for the treatment of patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) after disease progression or intolerance to imatinib mesylate therapy. We report the very interesting results of the phase II trials after cytokin failure and of the randomized recent trial of sunitinib versus cytokin-based therapy in first-line treatment for patients with metastatic RCC, as well as the promising results of the recent trials on patients with GIST after disease progression or intolerance to imatinib mesylate therapy. Oral sunitinib demonstrates a high level of efficacy with acceptable tolerability with the 50 mg daily for 4 weeks followed by 2 weeks off schedule; a continuous schedule could be of interest. Hypertension and asthenia are the most common side effects with sunitinib. Regardless of these encouraging results, studies investigating sunitinib in first-line treatment (for patients with GIST), adjuvant and neoadjuvant settings are awaited, as well as trials using sunitinb in combination with chemotherapy or other targeted therapies. Clinical trials investigating sunitinib in other tumor types are ongoing.
PMCID: PMC1936316  PMID: 18360643
sunitinib; renal cell carcinoma; GIST; review; targeted therapy
4.  Reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome during sunitinib therapy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2012;3(6):1293-1296.
Sunitinib is an oral receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent antiangiogenic and antitumor activity that is approved for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumors and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. Well-known side effects of sunitinib include hypertension, fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, cardiotoxicity, gastrointestinal toxicity and skin toxicity. In this study, we report the case of a 61-year-old male with papillary metastatic RCC who responded to sunitinib but developed generalized tonic-clonic seizures during the third cycle. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was compatible with reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS). After the administration of anti-epileptic drugs and the withdrawal of sunitinib there was rapid clinical improvement. Notably, radiological characteristics of RPLS persisted during second-line therapy with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor everolimus and only resolved when everolimus was terminated due to disease progression. Although sunitinib-induced RPLS has been reported previously, our case is the first to additionally suggest that everolimus may sustain and therefore potentially contribute to the occurrence of RPLS.
PMCID: PMC3392579  PMID: 22783436
renal cell cancer; sunitinib; reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome
5.  Sunitinib treatment for patients with clear-cell metastatic renal cell carcinoma: clinical outcomes and plasma angiogenesis markers 
BMC Cancer  2009;9:82.
Sunitinib is a protein tyrosine kinase-inhibitor targeting VEGFR, c-kit and PDGFR. It has been approved for the treatment of metastatic renal-cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Although it has been shown to prolong disease-free and overall survival in renal-cell carcinoma patients, only 70% of the treated population receive a clinical benefit (CB) from the treatment. Markers that could predict clinical benefit to sunitinib would be an important aid in monitoring and following their treatment. We assessed the outcome and plasma proangiogenic factors in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) treated with sunitinib in our institution.
We have treated 42 patients with metastatic clear-cell renal carcinoma with sunitinib. Plasma concentrations of VEGF-A, sVEGFR2 and PDGF were determined by ELISA.
At the time of analysis 39 patients were evaluable for response and 30 patients had obtained a clinical benefit (CB). Median progression-free survival was 268 days (8.93 months) and median overall survival was 487 days (16.23 months). Interestingly, disease stabilization or objective response resulted in comparable overall survival. Most treatment-related adverse events were of mild-to-moderate intensity with one treatment-related death. Plasma sVEGFR2 and PDGF levels had no predictive value. Fold-increase in plasma VEGF was significantly lower in patients that obtained a CB as compared to patients that progressed after two cycles of treatment. Plasma VEGF did not increase in patients with initial CB at the time of progression.
Sunitinib showed substantial activity in mRCC. Disease stabilization or objective response resulted in comparable overall survival and both outcomes should be considered positive. Fold-increase in plasma VEGF predicts for CB and could be a candidate marker. Progression after initial CB is not associated with elevated plasma VEGF, implying a different mechanism of resistance.
PMCID: PMC2662874  PMID: 19284623
6.  Cardiotoxicity Associated with the Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Sunitinib 
Lancet  2007;370(9604):2011-2019.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have advanced cancer treatment. Sunitinib, a recently-approved, multi-targeted TKI, prolongs survival for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), but concerns about cardiac safety have arisen with this agent.
To determine the cardiovascular risk associated with sunitinib, we reviewed all cardiovascular events in patients with imatinib-resistant, metastatic GIST at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute enrolled in a Phase I/II protocol evaluating the efficacy of the drug (n=75). Sunitinib’s effects on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and blood pressure (BP) were also examined. Studies in isolated cardiomyocytes and mice investigated potential mechanisms of sunitinib-associated cardiac effects.
Eleven percent (8/75) of subjects suffered a cardiovascular event with congestive heart failure (CHF) occurring in 8% (6/75) of the population. Twenty-eight percent (10/36) of patients treated at the FDA-approved dose had LVEF declines of ≥ 10 EF%, and nineteen percent (7/36) experienced LVEF declines of ≥ 15 EF%. Sunitinib induced significant increases in mean systolic and diastolic BP in patients, and 47% (35/75) of individuals developed hypertension (HTN) (>150/100 mmHg). CHF and LV dysfunction generally responded to withholding drug and instituting medical management. In mice and cultured cardiomyocytes, sunitinib caused mitochondrial injury and cardiomyocyte apoptosis.
Sunitinib treatment can lead to HTN, LVEF decline, and/or CHF. Experimental studies suggest that this is due, at least in part, to direct cardiomyocyte toxicity which may be exacerbated by HTN. Patients treated with sunitinib should receive close monitoring and prompt treatment for HTN and/or LVEF decline.
PMCID: PMC2643085  PMID: 18083403
7.  Blood glucose levels in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with sunitinib 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;99(9):1380-1382.
Sunitinib, a multitargeted tyrosine-kinase inhibitor, extends survival of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Between October 2005 and March 2007, we retrospectively reviewed blood glucose level variations associated with sunitinib therapy in patients treated for mRCC. Nineteen of the patients had type II diabetes. All 19 patients had a decrease in blood glucose level (mean 1.77 mmol l−1) after 4 weeks of treatment. This was followed by re-elevation in the 2-week rest period. After two cycles of sunitinib administration, two patients had stopped blood glucose-lowering drugs whereas five other patients had normalised their blood glucose level. On the basis of pre-clinical data, we hypothesise that several mechanisms could be involved in this process, such as capillary regression of pancreatic islets, IGF-1 modulation through HIF1-α or NF-κB activation. In addition, a decrease of glucose uptake in the context of concomitant gastrointestinal toxicity cannot be excluded. Glycaemic control should be carefully evaluated in diabetic patients treated with sunitinib, and routine monitoring is warranted.
PMCID: PMC2579676  PMID: 18841151
renal cell carcinoma; sunitinib; diabetes; glucose level; tyrosine-kinase inhibitor; VEGF
8.  Sunitinib inhibition of Stat3 induces renal cell carcinoma tumor cell apoptosis and reduces immunosuppressive cells 
Cancer research  2009;69(6):2506-2513.
The novel multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib is used as an anti-angiogenic agent for the treatment of several types of cancer, including metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Sunitinib was shown to positively change the immunosuppressive phenotype in RCC patients. In order to improve its antitumor efficacy, and offer strategies for its combination with other approaches, it is critical to fully elucidate its mechanisms of action. We show that sunitinib induces tumor cell apoptosis and growth arrest in RCC tumor cells, which correlates with Stat3 activity inhibition. Sunitinib-mediated direct effects on tumor cells occur regardless of von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor gene status and hypoxia-inducible transcription factor-2α levels. Reduction of Stat3 activity enhances sunitinib’s antitumor effects, whereas expression of a constitutively-activated Stat3 mutant rescues tumor cell death. Intravital multi-photon microscopy data show that sunitinib induces mouse Renca tumor cell apoptosis in vivo before tumor vasculature collapse. Sunitinib also inhibits Stat3 in Renca tumor–associated myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), downregulates angiogenic gene expression, and reduces MDSCs and tumor T regulatory cells. These results suggest that Stat3 activity is important for RCC response to sunitinib, and Stat3 inhibition permits sunitinib’s direct proapoptotic activity on tumor cells and positive effects on tumor immunologic microenvironment.
PMCID: PMC2664264  PMID: 19244102
9.  Sunitinib Malate Synergistically Potentiates Anti-Tumor Effect of Gemcitabine in Human Bladder Cancer Cells 
Korean Journal of Urology  2011;52(1):55-63.
Sunitinib malate (Sutent; Pfizer, New York, NY, USA) is a highly selective multi-targeted agent and has been reported to have potent anti-tumor effects against various tumors, including renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors. In this study, we explored in vitro the anti-tumor effect and related molecular mechanisms of sunitinib malate against human bladder cancer cell lines. We also determined the synergistic anti-tumor effect between sunitinib and conventional cytotoxic drugs, cisplatin and gemcitabine, in bladder cancer cells.
Materials and Methods
Six human cancer cell lines (HTB5, HTB9, T24, UMUC14, SW1710, and J82) were exposed to an escalating dose of sunitinib alone or in combination with cisplatin/gemcitabine, and the cytotoxic effect of the drugs was examined by CCK-8 assay. The synergistic effect between sunitinib and cisplatin/gemcitabine was determined by the combination index (CI) and clonogenic assay. Alterations in cell cycle (cyclin D, B1), survival (p-Akt, t-Akt), and apoptosis (Bax, Bad) regulator expression were analyzed by Western blotting.
Like cisplatin and gemcitabine, sunitinib exerted a dose- and time-dependent anti-tumor effect in bladder cancer cells. However, sunitinib exhibited entirely different sensitivity profiles from cisplatin and gemcitabine. Sunitinib suppressed the expression of cyclin B1, p-Akt, and t-Akt while augmenting the expression of cyclin D and pro-apoptotic Bax and Bad in HTB5 cells. Analysis of the drug combination by the isobolic method and clonogenic assay revealed that sunitinib acts in synergy with gemcitabine in HTB5 cells.
These results indicate that sunitinib malate has a potent anti-tumor effect and may synergistically enhance the anti-tumor effect of gemcitabine in human bladder cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC3037508  PMID: 21344032
Carcinoma; Cisplatin; Gemcitabine; Sunitinib; Urinary bladder
10.  Interleukin-8 Mediates Resistance to Antiangiogenic Agent Sunitinib in Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Cancer research  2010;70(3):1063-1071.
The broad spectrum kinase inhibitor sunitinib is a first-line therapy for advanced clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), a deadly form of kidney cancer. Unfortunately, most patients develop sunitinib resistance and progressive disease after about 1 year of treatment. In this study, we evaluated the mechanisms of resistance to sunitinib to identify the potential tactics to overcome it. Xenograft models were generated that mimicked clinical resistance to sunitinib. Higher microvessel density was found in sunitinib-resistant tumors, indicating that an escape from antiangiogenesis occurred. Notably, escape coincided with increased secretion of interleukin-8 (IL-8) from tumors into the plasma, and coadministration of an IL-8 neutralizing antibody resensitized tumors to sunitinib treatment. In patients who were refractory to sunitinib treatment, IL-8 expression was elevated in ccRCC tumors, supporting the concept that IL-8 levels might predict clinical response to sunitinib. Our results reveal IL-8 as an important contributor to sunitinib resistance in ccRCC and a candidate therapeutic target to reverse acquired or intrinsic resistance to sunitinib in this malignancy.
PMCID: PMC3719378  PMID: 20103651
11.  Intolerance to Sunitinib Treatment in Hemodialysis Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Korean Journal of Urology  2014;55(1):74-76.
Sunitinib is a multiple tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitor that is approved for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, neither an appropriate dose nor dosing schedule of sunitinib has yet been established for patients with metastatic RCC who are on hemodialysis. Here, we report on two hemodialysis patients who received sunitinib to treat metastatic RCC. Sunitinib was planned to be administered at a dosage of 25 mg/d for 4 of every 6 weeks. Although sunitinib toxicity was manageable in one patient, disease progression occurred after 4 months of treatment. In the second patient, acute pulmonary edema, caused by uncontrolled hypertension, developed on the 15th day of sunitinib therapy and the drug had to be discontinued. Sunitinib is thus not well tolerated in a hemodialysis setting. Close monitoring of toxicity and dose manipulation may be required if such therapy is attempted.
PMCID: PMC3897635  PMID: 24466402
Renal cell carcinoma; Renal dialysis; Sunitinib
12.  The role of adjuvant and neoadjuvant therapy in gastrointestinal stromal tumors 
Current opinion in oncology  2008;20(4):428-432.
Purpose of review
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are the most common sarcoma of the gastrointestinal tract. A decade ago, the only therapy for gastrointestinal stromal tumors was surgery. Treatment paradigms changed with the discovery that gastrointestinal stromal tumor cells express KIT, a tyrosine kinase growth factor receptor, which is mutated in 85% of cases. Imatinib and sunitinib are tyrosine kinase inhibitors with activity against advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors. This review will discuss the available data on the use of imatinib in the adjuvant setting and the role of imatinib and sunitinib in the neoadjuvant setting.
Recent findings
Retrospective series and prospective studies have demonstrated the benefit of adjuvant imatinib. Randomized data show improved recurrence free survival in patients receiving imatinib for 1 year postoperatively. Ongoing studies are further defining the length of adjuvant therapy. The neoadjuvant treatment decreases tumor size to allow for surgical resection with less morbidity. The imatinib neoadjuvant therapy in a prospective randomized study was safe with encouraging outcomes. This approach for palliating advanced disease also appears to be safe following imatinib, sunitinib, or other tyrosine kinase inhibitors therapy.
Treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumors, formerly limited to surgery, now is a combination of surgery and tyrosine kinase inhibitors therapy. Combination therapy is safe and improves outcomes, particularly in the adjuvant setting.
PMCID: PMC2993501  PMID: 18525339
adjuvant; gastrointestinal stromal tumors; imatinib; neoadjuvant; sunitinib
13.  Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors Induced Thyroid Dysfunction: A Review of Its Incidence, Pathophysiology, Clinical Relevance, and Treatment 
BioMed Research International  2013;2013:725410.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) belong to a new class of molecular multitargeted anticancer therapy which targets different growth factor receptors and hence attenuates cancer cell survival and growth. Since their introduction as adjunct treatment for renal cell carcinoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), a number of reports have demonstrated that TKI can induce thyroid dysfunction which was especially more common with sunitinib maleate. Many mechanisms with respect to this adverse effect of tyrosine kinase inhibitors have been proposed including their induction of thyroiditis, capillary regression in the thyroid gland, antithyroid peroxidase antibody production, and their ability to decrease iodine uptake by the thyroid gland. Of interest is the observation that TKI-induced thyroid dysfunction may actually be protective as it was shown to improve overall survival, and it was suggested that it may have a prognostic value. Followup on thyroid function tests while patients are maintained on tyrosine kinase inhibitor is strongly recommended. When thyroid dysfunction occurs, appropriate treatment should be individualized depending on patients symptoms and thyroid stimulating hormone level.
PMCID: PMC3824811  PMID: 24282820
14.  Abscess formation mimicking disease progression, in a patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma during sunitinib treatment 
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) represents approximately 3% of all adult cancers and is more common in males. Systemic treatment for RCC has improved following the introduction of tyrosine kinase inhibitors, such as sunitinib. The molecular targets of sunitinib are receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). Moreover, sunitinib has an additional anti-angiogenic effect through its inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor activation.
Case presentation
We present a case of intra-abdominal abscess formation mimicking disease progression, in a patient with metastatic renal cell carcinoma during sunitinib treatment.
In the advancing era of molecular therapy of solid tumours, sunitinib has demonstrated significant efficacy in the post-cytokine setting treatment of metastatic renal cancer. Concurrently, however, increasing evidence has emerged to indicate that this class of drugs exert profound immunomodulatory effects on T cells and play major roles in immune tumor surveillance.
PMCID: PMC2890518  PMID: 20507643
15.  Sunitinib induced nephrotic syndrome and thrombotic microangiopathy 
Indian Journal of Nephrology  2013;23(1):67-70.
Sunitinib is an oral, multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of targets such as vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet derived growth factor receptor. It is used for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Use of sunitinib has been associated with renal dysfunction and nephrotic syndrome. However, simultaneous occurrence of nephrotic syndrome and renal dysfunction in a patient treated with sunitinib is rare. We report a case of metastatic RCC treated with sunitinib for 22 months who presented with nephrotic syndrome and renal dysfunction. Renal biopsy was diagnostic of thrombotic microangiopathy with diffuse effacement of podocytic foot process.
PMCID: PMC3621245  PMID: 23580811
Nephrotic syndrome; receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor; sunitinib; thrombotic microangiopathy
16.  Development of a Nephrotic Syndrome in a Patient with Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor during a Long-Time Treatment with Sunitinib 
Case Reports in Oncology  2012;5(3):651-656.
A patient with advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) receiving second-line treatment with sunitinib developed edema, increase of the serum creatinine, weight gain, nephrotic syndrome with proteinuria of 12 g/24 h, dyslipidemia, hypoalbuminemia and also presented with hypertension. A kidney biopsy showed an immunocomplex glomerulonephritis. Steroid treatment was started, but the clinical conditions and laboratory values did not improve. So in the hypothesis that the nephrotic syndrome was induced by sunitinib, sunitinib was temporarily discontinued with a subsequent reduction of proteinuria and improvement in blood pressure control. In the last years, the introduction of sunitinib has modified the natural history of advanced GIST. However, due to chronic and prolonged intake of this drug, there is increasingly frequent detection of late and unknown toxicities in clinical practice. In particular, the late renal toxicity from sunitinib may be the primary clinical problem with this drug in the case of prolonged treatment. Monitoring of kidney function and blood pressure should be performed for early detection of side effects such as hypertension and kidney dysfunction in advanced GIST patients receiving long-term treatment with sunitinib. A clinical collaboration between oncologists and nephrologists could be useful with the objective to optimize the management of sunitinib.
PMCID: PMC3531949  PMID: 23275781
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor; Sunitinib; Nephrotic syndrome; Vascular endothelial growth factor; Proteinuria; Renal toxicity
17.  5-fluorouracil enhances the antitumor effect of sorafenib and sunitinib in a xenograft model of human renal cell carcinoma 
Oncology Letters  2012;3(6):1195-1202.
Sorafenib and sunitinib are multi-kinase inhibitors with antitumor activity in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Several studies have evaluated the effect of sorafenib/sunitinib in combination with chemotherapeutic agents in different types of tumor. However, few studies have addressed the activity of fluorinated pyrimidine in combination with sorafenib/sunitinib. In this study, we examined the potential of combination therapy with 5FU and sorafenib/sunitinib in human RCC cell lines. Three human RCC cell lines, ACHN, Caki-1 and Caki-2, were used to assess sensitivity to 5-fluorouracil (5FU), sorafenib and sunitinib alone or in combination using an in vitro cell survival assay. Caki-2 cells demonstrated significantly higher resistance to 5FU and sorafenib as compared to ACHN and Caki-1. Additive antitumor effects of the combination therapy were observed in the in vitro study. There was a tendency for a positive correlation between the sensitivity to sunitinib and platelet-derived growth factor β (PDGFR-β) expression levels, which were examined by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Caki-1 xenograft models were prepared by inoculating cells subcutaneously into nude mice, which were divided randomly into six groups: control, 5FU (8 mg/kg/day, intraperitoneally), sorafenib (15 mg/kg/day, orally), sunitinib (20 mg/kg/day, orally), and 5FU with sorafenib or sunitinib. The treatments were administered on 5 days each week, and tumor growth was monitored for 42 days following inoculation of cells. Synergistic antitumor effects of the combination therapy were observed in an in vivo study. The resected tumors were evaluated using the Ki-67 labeling index and microvessel density. Both the Ki-67 labeling index and microvessel density were decreased in tumors treated with the combination therapy compared to those treated with sorafenib/sunitinib alone. These findings suggest that the combination therapy of 5FU with sorafenib/sunitinib may be an effective therapeutic modality for advanced RCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3392575  PMID: 22783417
renal cell carcinoma; 5-fluorouracil; sorafenib; sunitinib; angiogenesis
18.  Nephrotic Syndrome and Acute Renal Failure Apparently Induced by Sunitinib 
Case Reports in Oncology  2009;2(3):172-176.
We report a case of nephrotic syndrome and acute renal failure apparently induced by sunitinib. A 67-year-old man with a history of metastatic renal cell carcinoma presented with progressive kidney dysfunction with proteinuria, general edema, and body weight gain of 21 kg after undergoing 3 weeks of sunitinib therapy. The patient had taken no other over-the-counter medications, and all other possible causes of nephrotic syndrome were excluded. The Naranjo Adverse Drug Reaction Probability Scale score for this event was 6, indicating a high probability that the observed presentations were associated with use of the drug. However, despite the discontinuation of sunitinib, his condition deteriorated, and hemodialysis was initiated for respiratory distress. A renal biopsy was performed, which revealed ischemic acute tubular necrosis with minimal change nephropathy. In conclusion, nephrologists and oncologists should be aware that nephrotic syndrome with ischemic acute tubular necrosis is a possible adverse effect of sunitinib. For early diagnosis of this condition and to avoid renal damage, we recommend differential diagnosis of serum creatinine and proteinuria in patients undergoing sunitinib therapy.
PMCID: PMC2914378  PMID: 20737033
Sunitinib; Nephrotic syndrome; Ischemic acute tubular necrosis
19.  Experience with sunitinib in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma 
Therapeutic Advances in Urology  2012;4(5):253-265.
Following approval of the oral, multitargeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib malate for the treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) in Europe and the USA in 2006, the agent has had a substantial impact on the treatment landscape in this setting. Sunitinib is now recommended in international treatment guidelines for the first-line treatment of favourable- or intermediate-risk mRCC and as an alternative option in poor-risk mRCC. In the 6 years since the approval of sunitinib, the range of agents available for the treatment of mRCC has expanded substantially, and this, together with a number of additional therapies in late-stage development, has increased the treatment options available to patients. Results from a phase III trial and a global expanded access study have provided robust data to support the efficacy of sunitinib in mRCC, including in real-world populations. Data also suggest a significant quality of life benefit with sunitinib, with superior patient-reported outcomes observed with this agent compared with interferon-α therapy. Both clinical and real-world study data also support the safety profile of sunitinib; most treatment-associated adverse events are mild to moderate in severity and can be managed effectively with close monitoring and proactive management. Clinical experience with sunitinib has demonstrated that therapy management, involving optimal dosing, maximum treatment duration and prompt and effective adverse event management, supports optimal patient outcomes with sunitinib. In this review we discuss clinical experience with sunitinib in mRCC, with an emphasis on real-world data, and utilize clinical case studies to examine the successful implementation of therapy management strategies for optimal patient outcomes. An increasing body of evidence suggests that side effects associated with sunitinib therapy, including hypertension, hand–foot syndrome and hypothyroidism, may represent effective markers of treatment response, and these will also be discussed.
PMCID: PMC3441135  PMID: 23024706
case studies; metastatic renal cell carcinoma; sunitinib; therapy management; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
20.  An unusual case of acalculous cholecystitis heralding presentation of acute mesenteric ischaemia with typical radiological findings 
Acalculous cholecystitis accounts for 10–15% of cases of cholecystitis. It is often associated with critical illness and has a high morbidity and mortality.
We report an unusual case of an elderly lady who presented with acalculous cholecystitis as the herald event for subsequent fatal intestinal ischaemia. She demonstrated classical radiological features of pneumatosis coli and hepatic porto-venous gas (HPVG).
The pathogenesis of acalculous cholecystitis remains uncertain but theories including biliary stasis, sepsis and ischaemia have been proposed. The gallbladder is particularly vulnerable to ischaemia which may precipitate the inflammatory process. In this case, we propose that acute acalculous cholecystitis was triggered by ischaemia and was a herald sign of the ischaemia that would later affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. We suggest that the gallbladder's tenuous blood supply made it more vulnerable to the ischaemia that the rest of the bowel subsequently suffered from.
Intramural and hepatic porto-venous gas are classical, though rarely seen, CT findings in acute intestinal ischaemia. In these situations HPVG is often associated with poor outcome. In this case the acute acalculous cholecystitis may have been a herald sign of mesenteric ischaemia.
PMCID: PMC3356553  PMID: 22580081
Acalculous cholecystitis; Mesenteric ischaemia; Pneumatosis intestinalis
21.  Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging of Sunitinib-Induced Vascular Changes to Schedule Chemotherapy in Renal Cell Carcinoma Xenograft Tumors1 
Translational Oncology  2010;3(5):293-306.
In an attempt to develop better therapeutic approaches for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the combination of the antiangiogenic drug sunitinib with gemcitabine was studied. Using dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (DCE-MRI), we have previously determined that a sunitinib dosage of 20 mg/kg per day increased kidney tumor perfusion and decreased vascular permeability in a preclinical murine RCC model. This sunitinib dosage causing regularization of tumor vessels was selected to improve delivery of gemcitabine to the tumor. DCE-MRI was used to monitor regularization of vasculature with sunitinib in kidney tumors to schedule gemcitabine. We established an effective and nontoxic schedule of sunitinib combined with gemcitabine consisting of pretreatment with sunitinib for 3 days followed by four treatments of gemcitabine at 20 mg/kg given 3 days apart while continuing daily sunitinib treatment. This treatment caused significant tumor growth inhibition resulting in small residual tumor nodules exhibiting giant tumor cells with degenerative changes, which were observed both in kidney tumors and in spontaneous lung metastases, suggesting a systemic antitumor response. The combined therapy caused a significant increase in mouse survival. DCE-MRI monitoring of vascular changes induced by sunitinib, gemcitabine, and both combined showed increased tumor perfusion and decreased vascular permeability in kidney tumors. These findings, confirmed histologically by thinning of tumor blood vessels, suggest that both sunitinib and gemcitabine exert antiangiogenic effects in addition to cytotoxic antitumor activity. These studies show that DCE-MRI can be used to select the dose and schedule of antiangiogenic drugs to schedule chemotherapy and improve its efficacy.
PMCID: PMC2935633  PMID: 20885892
22.  Transformation of Nonfunctioning Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Carcinoma Cells into Insulin Producing Cells after Treatment with Sunitinib 
Endocrinology and Metabolism  2013;28(2):149-152.
We report a rare case of severe hypoglycemia after sunitinib treatment for pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma. We describe the initial clinical presentation, laboratory results, pathologic findings, and managment in a patient with a nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma with liver metastases who developed life threatening hypoglycemia after 2 months of sunitinib therapy. A 46-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with loss of consciousness from hypoglycemia. Serum C-peptide and insulin levels at fasting state revealed that the hypoglycemia resulted from endogenous hyperinsulinemia. She had been diagnosed with nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma based on a biopsy of metastatic cervical lymph node and was being treated with sunitinib, a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor. Immunohistochemical stain of the metastatic liver mass demonstrated that the initially nonfunctioning neuroendocrine carcinoma cells had changed into insulin-producing cells after sunitinib therapy. Transarterial chemoembolization of the liver masses and systemic chemotherapy with streptozotocin/adriamycin relieved the hypoglycemia. A nonfunctioning pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma was transformed into an insulin-producing tumor after treatment with sunitinib, causing endogenous hyperinsulinemia and severe hypoglycemia.
PMCID: PMC3811707  PMID: 24396670
Sunitinib; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor; Insulinoma; Hypoglycemia
23.  The clinical implications of sunitinib-induced hypothyroidism: a prospective evaluation 
British Journal of Cancer  2008;99(3):448-454.
Sunitinib is approved for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and imatinib-resistant or -intolerant gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). Several studies have identified unexpected rates of thyroid dysfunction with sunitinib treatment. We performed a prospective observational study with the aim of more accurately defining the incidence and severity of hypothyroidism in RCC or GIST patients receiving sunitinib. Thyroid function was assessed at baseline and on days 1 and 28 of each treatment cycle. Thyroid antibodies were assessed at baseline and during follow-up if abnormal thyroid function tests were recorded. Sixteen patients (27%) developed sub- or clinical hypothyroidism and required hormone replacement and 20 patients (34%) showed at least one elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone not requiring therapeutic intervention. Twenty patients (34%) did not develop any biochemical thyroid abnormality. Thus, sunitinib can induce (sub-) clinical hypothyroidism, warranting close monitoring of thyroid function. We propose a new algorithm for managing this side effect in clinical practise.
PMCID: PMC2527784  PMID: 18665181
sunitinib; prospective study; hypothyroidism; gastrointestinal stromal tumour; renal cell carcinoma
24.  Treatment with sorafenib and sunitinib in renal cell cancer: a Swedish register-based study 
Sorafenib and sunitinib are used for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The objective was to study the treatment duration and time to death in Swedish RCC patients on sorafenib or sunitinib as first-line or monotherapy or as sequential therapy. Patients with an RCC diagnosis were identified in the Swedish Cancer Register. Information on treatment with sorafenib and sunitinib was collected from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register, and time of death from the Cause of Death Register. Outcome measures were duration of treatment and time to death on sorafenib or sunitinib as first-line or monotherapy and sequential therapy (sorafenib–sunitinib versus sunitinib–sorafenib). Poisson regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) with 95 % confidence intervals (CI). No difference was observed for sorafenib (n = 123 patients) versus sunitinib (n = 261 patients) in treatment duration (HR 1.00; CI 0.80–1.24) or risk for death (HR 1.30; CI 0.91–1.85) when used as first-line or monotherapy. The same applied for sequential therapy with sorafenib–sunitinib (n = 43 patients) versus sunitinib–sorafenib (n = 54 patients), HR 1.47 (CI 0.71–3.02) and HR 2.01 (CI 0.86–4.68), respectively. There was a difference between the two treatments in how the duration of first-line treatment influenced the duration of second-line treatment and time to death, in favor of starting with sorafenib. In conclusion, no difference was detected between sorafenib and sunitinib in the duration of treatment or time to death when used as first-line or monotherapy. The impact of the duration of first-line treatment differed between the two sequences, and the results indicated that sorafenib as first-line treatment is a favorable choice.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12032-012-0331-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3586400  PMID: 23254966
Sorafenib; Sunitinib; Sequential; Register; Renal cell cancer
25.  Sunitinib in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Recommendations for Management of Noncardiovascular Toxicities 
The Oncologist  2011;16(5):543-553.
The multitargeted tyrosine-kinase inhibitor sunitinib has emerged as one of the standards of care for good and intermediate metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Fatigue, diarrhea, anorexia, oral changes, hand-foot syndrome and other skin toxicity, thyroid dysfunction, myelotoxicity, and hypertension seem to be the most common and clinically relevant toxicities of sunitinib. The proactive assessment and consistent and timely management of sunitinib-related side effects is critical to ensure optimal treatment benefit by allowing appropriate drug dosing and prolonged treatment periods.
The multitargeted tyrosine-kinase inhibitor sunitinib has emerged as one of the standards of care for good- and intermediate-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Although generally associated with acceptable toxicity, sunitinib exhibits a novel and distinct toxicity profile that requires monitoring and management. Fatigue, diarrhea, anorexia, oral changes, hand-foot syndrome and other skin toxicity, thyroid dysfunction, myelotoxicity, and hypertension seem to be the most common and clinically relevant toxicities of sunitinib. Drug dosing and treatment duration are correlated with response to treatment and survival. Treatment recommendations for hypertension have been published but, currently, no standard guidelines exist for the management of noncardiovascular side effects. To discuss the optimal management of noncardiovascular side effects, an international, interdisciplinary panel of experts gathered in November 2009. Existing literature on incidence, severity, and underlying mechanisms of side effects as well as on potential treatment options were carefully reviewed and discussed. On the basis of these proceedings and the thorough review of the existing literature, recommendations were made for the monitoring, prevention, and treatment of the most common noncardiovascular side effects and are summarized in this review. The proactive assessment and consistent and timely management of sunitinib-related side effects are critical to ensure optimal treatment benefit by allowing appropriate drug dosing and prolonged treatment periods.
PMCID: PMC3228204  PMID: 21490127
Sunitinib; Toxicity; Side effect management; Treatment optimization

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