By Dr Ananya Mandal, MD
Pfizer Inc. announced this Tuesday that its oral multi-kinase inhibitor Sutent was determined as having a favourable benefit-risk profile by an oncology advisory committee of the FDA for the treatment of unresectable pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors. The panel voted 8-2 in favour of Sutent – generically called Sunitib malate.
Advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumour or NET, is a rare, life-threatening and difficult-to-treat form of cancer that accounts for approximately 22-28 percent of all neuroendocrine tumours. Nearly 90 percent of patients are initially diagnosed with locally advanced or metastatic disease, or cancer that has spread to other organs. An unresectable tumour is one that cannot be removed or resected by surgery.
Sutent or sunitinib malate targets vascular endothelial growth factor receptor or VEGFR and platelet-derived growth factor receptor or PDGFR, both of which are expressed by many types of solid tumours. The two targets are involved in tumours acquiring blood vessels, oxygen and nutrients needed for growth.