Adults who have renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) that has spread to other areas of the body may receive axitinib to help slow down the progression of the cancer. This medicine works by blocking certain receptors on the surface of the cancer cells, which prevents the cells from growing and spreading. At this time, there are no "off-label" (unapproved) uses for axitinib.
An Overview of Uses for Axitinib
Axitinib (Inlyta®) is a prescription medication approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer. It is used in people who have already undergone treatment with one or more kidney cancer medications, but without success.
Renal cell carcinoma is a type of cancer that begins in the small tubes of the kidney. It is the most common type of kidney cancer.
After a diagnosis of cancer is made, healthcare providers will determine how far the cancer has spread. This process is called staging. Staging can be helpful in planning the best approach for treatment. In general, there are four stages of kidney cancer (see Kidney Cancer Stages).
Advanced kidney cancer describes cancer that has spread beyond the kidneys to at least two lymph nodes or other areas of the body. It is also sometimes referred to as stage IV kidney cancer or metastatic kidney cancer. Approximately 20 percent of people with kidney cancer will have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis.
Once kidney cancer has progressed to the advanced stage, the goal of treatment is usually to ease symptoms and slow down progression of the disease. Curing advanced cancer is unlikely. Axitinib is one of several kidney cancer treatments that may help slow down how quickly the cancer progresses.
How Does It Work?
Axitinib works by blocking receptors known as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors 1, 2, and 3. These receptors are found on the surface of cells, including cancer cells, and influence tumor growth and spread. By binding to VEGF receptors, axitinib may slow down the growth and spread of cancer cells.
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Inlyta [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2012 January.
Pfizer Press release. U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approves Pfizer's Inlyta (axitinib) for Patients With Previously Treated Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). January 27, 2012. Available at: http://www.pfizer.com/news/press_releases/pfizer_press_releases.jsp#guid=20120127005774en&source=RSS_2011&page=1. Accessed February 3, 2012.
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