Sorafenib Treatment for Kidney Cancer

Sorafenib treatment for kidney cancer marked a pivotal advancement when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in 2005. This approval provided a new line of therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), especially those with limited treatment options.

Sorafenib is a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that blocks multiple enzymes essential for the growth and spread of cancer cells, including those in the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathways. Its mechanism of action involves inhibiting angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels essential for tumor growth and metastasis, and directly targeting tumor cells.

Sorafenib is primarily indicated for treating advanced RCC, particularly in patients who have not responded to standard interferon-alpha or interleukin-2 therapy. It is often used as a second-line treatment for patients with metastatic RCC who have progressed after cytokine therapy.

Administered orally in tablet form, sorafenib allows for convenient at-home treatment. The dosage may be adjusted based on the patient's response to the drug, side effects experienced, and overall health.

Clinical trials have demonstrated that sorafenib effectively delays the progression of advanced RCC compared to placebo. It has improved progression-free survival in patients with advanced RCC, offering an alternative to patients with limited responses to traditional cytokine therapy.

Common side effects of sorafenib include diarrhea, skin rash, fatigue, hypertension, and hand-foot syndrome. Side effects are managed through dose adjustments, supportive care, and medications for specific symptoms like antihypertensives for high blood pressure.

Patients on sorafenib require frequent monitoring, including blood pressure checks and liver function tests, to assess side effects and treatment response. Regular imaging studies are conducted to monitor response and detect any signs of disease progression.

The FDA approval of sorafenib in 2005 for advanced RCC introduced a new era in kidney cancer management, especially for patients with metastatic disease. As one of the first TKIs approved for RCC, sorafenib has been crucial in improving outcomes for this challenging disease. Its efficacy in inhibiting angiogenesis and directly targeting cancer cells has made it a key component in treating advanced RCC.


Escudier B, Eisen T, Stadler WM, et al. Sorafenib in advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma. N Engl J Med. 2007;356(2):125-134.


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