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New Treatment for Stomach and Kidney Cancers

Deprives tumors of blood and nutrients

THURSDAY, Jan. 26, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- The Pfizer drug Sutent (sunitnib) was approved Thursday to treat stomach and kidney cancers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said. The agency said it was the first time it had ever simultaneously approved an anti-cancer product for two different forms of the disease.

Sutent deprives tumor cells of the blood and nutrients they need to grow. Advanced kidney cancer strikes 32,000 Americans each year, and gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST) -- a rare form of stomach cancer -- affect 5,000 Americans annually, the FDA said, citing statistics from the American Cancer Society.

Sutent was approved for GIST patients who are unable to take or respond to Gleevec, the current standard treatment. Studies showed the new drug slowed the growth of these tumors, the FDA said.

Among kidney cancer patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, clinical trials showed Sutent was effective in reducing the tumors' size, the agency said.

Common side effects reported during clinical testing included diarrhea, skin discoloration, mouth irritations, weakness, and altered taste.

More information

Visit the FDA's Web site to learn more about the Sutent approval.

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