Sutent® (sunitinib malate) has been shown to significantly increase progression-free survival in patients with advanced pancreatic islet cell tumors, leading Pfizer Inc. to halt their Phase III trial early.
Sutent is an oral targeted agent that works by inhibiting multiple biologic pathways involved in the growth, replication, and spread of cancer cells. Sutent deprives cancer cells of blood and nutrients needed for growth. Sutent is currently approved for both advanced renal cell carcinoma and second-line gastrointestinal stromal tumors and is currently being evaluated for the treatment of several types of cancer.
Pancreatic islet cell tumors are rare and have few treatment options. The current Phase III study was initiated as a result of an earlier Phase II study in which Sutent showed anti-tumor activity in pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
The Phase III study compared Sutent to placebo plus best supportive care. Sutent demonstrated greater progression-free survival than placebo and as a result, an independent monitoring committee recommended halting the trial. All patients in the trial will have the option to continue taking Sutent or to be switched from placebo to Sutent.
 Pfizer Inc. Press Release March 12, 2009: http://mediaroom.pfizer.com/news/pfizer/20090312005308/en
 Kulke MH, Lenz HJ, Meropol NJ, et al. Activity of sunitinib in patients with advanced neuroendocrine tumors. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 26:3403-3410.