Axitinib Treatment for Kidney Cancer

Axitinib treatment for kidney cancer, particularly as a targeted therapy drug, has marked a substantial advancement in managing this disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved axitinib in 2012 for treating advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after the failure of one prior systemic therapy. Its effectiveness in the advanced stages of kidney cancer makes it a notable therapeutic option.

Axitinib functions as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), specifically targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs). This action disrupts angiogenesis, the growth of new blood vessels to the tumor, thereby impeding tumor growth and spread. Axitinib is recognized for its potent and selective inhibition of VEGFRs, enhancing its efficacy for RCC treatment.

Axitinib's primary use is in treating advanced RCC, especially in patients who have not responded to initial therapy or experienced disease progression following treatment. Administered orally, axitinib allows for convenient at-home treatment. Dosage adjustments are made based on the patient's response and side effects, underscoring the importance of adhering to prescribed dosage and administration guidelines.

Clinical trials have validated axitinib's efficacy in delaying the progression of advanced RCC, showing improved progression-free survival compared to sorafenib, another TKI. It has been explored both as a second-line treatment and in combination with other drugs for advanced RCC.

The common side effects of axitinib include diarrhea, hypertension, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, and hand-foot syndrome. Side effects management involves dose adjustments, supportive care, and medications for specific symptoms like hypertension. Patients undergoing axitinib treatment require regular monitoring, including blood pressure checks and periodic imaging tests to evaluate the treatment response and monitor for disease progression.

Axitinib treatment for kidney cancer, especially after its FDA approval in 2012, represents a significant progression in therapeutic options for patients with advanced RCC. Its targeted mechanism and potential to improve outcomes have established axitinib as a valuable component in the treatment arsenal against advanced kidney cancer.


Rini BI, Escudier B, Tomczak P, et al. Comparative effectiveness of axitinib versus sorafenib in advanced renal cell carcinoma (AXIS): a randomised phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2011;378(9807):1931-1939.


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