Certain Cancer Drugs May Have Fatal Side Effects:
MONDAY, Feb. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Treatment with three
relatively new cancer drugs may be linked to a slightly increased
risk of death, a new analysis suggests.
While the risk is low, it should be taken into account by
doctors and patients, according to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
scientists and colleagues.
The investigators analyzed the findings of 10 clinical trials
that included nearly 4,700 patients treated with sorafenib
(Nexavar) for kidney and liver cancer; sunitinib (Sutent) for
kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor; or pazopanib
(Votrient) for kidney cancer.
These so-called "targeted" drugs are used to stop the growth or
spread of cancer by blocking the vascular endothelial growth factor
tyrosine kinase receptors in cancer cells, the researchers
explained in a Dana-Farber news release.
The analysis of the clinical trials revealed that the incidence
of fatal complications was 1.5 percent in patients who received any
of the three drugs, compared with 0.7 percent in patients who
received standard treatments or placebos.
Bleeding, heart attack and heart failure were the most common
fatal side effects noted in the clinical trials. In addition, liver
failure was also reported, according to the report published in the
Feb. 6 edition of the
Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"There is no doubt for the average patient, these drugs have benefits and are [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved for these indications," study leader Dr. Toni Choueiri said in the news release. "While the absolute incidence of these fatal side effects is very small, the relative risks are higher and patients and practitioners need to be aware of it."
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about
targeted cancer therapies.
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