Patients who experience high blood pressure (BP) while being treated with sunitinib for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) respond better to treatment, have improved overall survival, and have longer progression-free survival (PFS), according to a report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (2011;103;763-773).

Researchers analyzed four studies involving 5,461 patients with metastatic RCC treated with sunitinib 50 mg/day. Patients with sunitinib-induced hypertension—defined as a maximum systolic blood pressure (SBP) of 140 mm Hg or higher—survived nearly four times longer than those with lower maximum SBP (30.5 vs. 7.8 months).

Similarly, those with maximum diastolic blood pressure (DBP) of 90 mm Hg or higher survived twice as long as those with lower DBP levels (32.2 vs. 14.9 months). PFS was 12.5 months in systolic hypertensive patients versus 2.5 months among those without hypertension. The PFS was 13.4 months for patients with diastolic hypertension and 5.3 months for those with no hypertension. The use of BP-lowering medication did not reduce the anti-tumor effectiveness of sunitinib.

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