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Sorafenib May Be Promising Treatment for Sarcoma Patients


Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals and Onyx Pharmaceuticals may have a promising treatment for patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma after positive results were found with Nexavar (sorafenib) in a phase 2 study.

Sorafenib belongs to a class of medications known as multikinase inhibitors. It works by slowing the spread of cancer cells. It is already approved to treat advanced renal (kidney) cancer and unresectable hepatocellular (liver) carcinoma.

The most recent study evaluating Nexavar (the brand name for sorafenib) in cancer patients involved 101 patients – 26 with leiomyosarcoma (a rare, malignant cancer of the smooth muscle), 19 with angiovascular sarcoma (a cancer of the inner lining of the blood vessels), and 46 with other disease types. All patients were pretreated with anthracycline-based chemotherapy and then received 400 mg of sorafenib twice daily for 28 days.

Progression Free Survival (PFS) at 6 months served as the primary endpoint for the study. Overall, 14.5% of patients achieved partial response and 32.9% reached stable disease. For all types of cancer, PFS rate reached 34.5%. After taking all factors into consideration, PFS outcomes favored those with leiomyosarcoma over other histologies.

Of all soft-tissue sarcoma, approximately 5 to 10% are leiomyosarcomas. Women tend to be more affected than men with the disease typically occurring in the 5th and 6th decade of life. The most common site of involvement of leiomyosarcoma is the retroperitoneum in the abdominal cavity.

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Treatment with sorafenib was well tolerated. Some of the known side effects of sorafenib are tiredness/weakness, rash or skin redness, hair loss, itching, loss of appetite, constipation or diarrhea, dry mouth, mouth sores, and headache. More serious side effects observed include unusual bruising or bleeding, black and/or tarry stools, nausea/vomiting, severe stomach pain, shortness of breath and fainting.

The researchers conclude that Nexavar (sorafenib) appears to be a promising option for leiomyosarcoma patients.

Note: Sorafenib is not available in pharmacies. You can only get sorafenib through the mail from a specialty pharmacy.

Journal Reference:
Santoro A et al. Phase II prospective study with sorafenib in advanced soft tissue sarcomas after anthracycline-based therapy
Ann Oncol. 2012 Dec 9 (Epub ahead of print). doi:10.1093/annonc/mds607, January 16, 2013

Additional Resource:
The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative “An Introduction to Leiomyosarcoma of the Bone and Soft Tissue”

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