Pfizer Kidney Cancer Drug Gets EU Okay

Pfizer Inc.‘s kidney cancer drug Inlyta has been approved for sale by European regulators for a type of advanced kidney cancer.

Inlyta (known chemically as axitinib) was approved by the European Commission for use in adult patients who suffer from renal cell carcinoma and have already been unsuccessfully treated with other kidney cancer drugs, reports Bloomberg Business Week.

The new cancer drug by Pfizer is part of a new generation of targeted cancer drugs from the company. It works to target proteins affecting the growth and spread of tumors as well as the development of new blood vessels to feed tumors.

The New York-based company sponsored a large study that discovered their kidney cancer drug Imlyta extended cancer progression in patients to a median of 6.8 months compared with 4.7 months for patients who took a standard kidney cancer drug.

One-third of patients with renal cell carcinoma are not diagnosed until the cancer has spread to multiple body parts, limiting their chances of survival; because of this, this type of kidney cancer is the sixth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

Pfizer, the world’s largest drug maker, supplies three drugs for advanced renal cell carcinoma, and the latest drug will allow patients who are given a second treatment to have more options.

Inlyta has also been approved in Japan, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, and South Korea. Market Watch notes that the kidney cancer drug was also approved in the US by the Food and Drug Administration in January.

Some side effects from the kidney cancer drug include diarrhea, nausea, decreased appetite, fatigue, high blood pressure, and difficulty speaking. Some less-common side effects include internal bleeding, development of perforations of abnormal connections inside the gastrointestinal tract, and severe blood pressure spikes that can trigger a stroke and also dangerous clots in arteries and veins.

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