SUTENT is approved to treat cancer of the kidney, pancreas, or gastrointestinal tract. When used for gastrointestinal cancer, SUTENT is given after another cancer medication, imatinib, has been tried first. SUTENT is licensed for adults only, as it has not been adequately studied in children. In some cases, a healthcare provider will prescribe this drug for a nonapproved use, such as the treatment of breast cancer.
SUTENT® (sunitinib) is a prescription medication approved to treat certain types of kidney, pancreatic, and gastrointestinal (GI) cancers. It belongs to a class of medicines called tyrosine kinase inhibitors.
SUTENT is approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of cancer that starts in the lining of very small tubes (called tubules) in the kidneys. There are other types of kidney cancer; however, RCC is the most common.
RCC is considered advanced when the cancer cells have spread beyond the kidneys to other areas of the body. Advanced RCC is also sometimes called stage IV cancer or metastatic kidney cancer. The goal of treatment for advanced kidney cancer is to slow down the progression of the disease and relieve cancer symptoms.
SUTENT is approved to treat a type of pancreatic cancer known as pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNET). PNET are found in certain tissues of the pancreas where hormones are produced. This area of the pancreas is sometimes called the "endocrine pancreas." The cells found in the endocrine pancreas are called "islet cells." For this reason, PNET is also sometimes called pancreatic islet cell cancer (see Pancreatic Islet Cell Cancer for more information about this condition).
PNET should not be confused with the more common pancreatic cancer that occurs in the exocrine pancreas, the part of the pancreas where digestive juices are produced.
Surgical removal of the cancerous tumors is the most common treatment for PNET. However, if the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, surgical removal may not be an option. SUTENT is approved to treat PNET that has spread just beyond the pancreas (is "locally advanced") or to other areas of the body (is "metastatic") and cannot be treated with surgery.