Pre-existing hypertension (HTN) predicts improved overall and progression-free survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) treated with sunitinib, according to a French study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting in Chicago.

The study, led by Bernard Escudier, MD, of Institut Gustave Roussy inVillejuif, included 213 mRCC patients treated with the VEGF inhibitor sunitinib. Patients had a median age of 59 years and a median follow-up of 43 months. Of these patients, 88 (41%) had pre-existing HTN, including 58 (66%) receiving angiotensin receptor blockers or some other angiotensin system inhibitor. Overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS) were significantly longer among the patients with pre-existing HTN than among those without pre-existing HTN (33 vs. 23 months and 12 vs. 9 months, respectively).

Among the patients with pre-existing HTN, those receiving treatment with angiotensin system inhibitors had significantly better OS, but not PFS, than subjects not treated with these medications.

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HTN is one of the most frequent adverse effects of VEGF inhibitors, the researchers explained. The development of hypertension during mRCC treatment with sunitinib, bevacizumab plus interferon alfa, axitinib, and tivozanib has been associated with improved outcomes, they noted.