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AACR: Sunitinib Beneficial in Advanced Liver Cancer

Current dose schedule is safe with close monitoring in most liver cancer patients

TUESDAY, April 15 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma, treatment with sunitinib may be associated with improved outcomes, according to research presented this week at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research in San Diego.

Rakesh K. Jain, Ph.D., of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a phase II study to evaluate the efficacy, toxicity and changes in angiogenic parameters following sunitinib administration in 34 patients (median age 63).

The researchers found that the treatment was generally well tolerated, with rates of grade 3-4 toxicities ranging from 3 to 15 percent. They also found that median progression-free survival and median overall survival were 4 months and 10 months, respectively.

"The number of circulating progenitor cells was significantly decreased by sunitinib at days 15, 29 and 57 compared to baseline," the authors write. "Sunitinib administered in the current dose schedule can be safely given with close monitoring in the majority of hepatocellular carcinoma patients."

Two of the study authors report a financial relationship to the pharmaceutical industry.

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