Sunitinib Sutent

Sunitinib Sutent

This patient-friendly article is about chemotherapy drug, Sunitinib (Sutent) which is used to treat advanced kidney cancer and a rare kind of cancer called a gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST) that occurs in the wall of the stomach and small intestine. GIST tumours are caused by a particular abnormal tyrosine kinase, called c-kit. Sunitinib blocks the action of this enzyme, which stops the GIST cells from multiplying uncontrollably.

Sunitinib is a multi-kinase inhibitor. It works by interfering with the pathways that signal certain cancer cells to grow. In kidney cancer, higher than normal amounts of a type of kinase called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are made. VEGF stimulates the production of blood vessels, and so helps the cancer to grow. Sunitinib blocks the activity of VEGF.

Side effects can include: fatigue, swelling in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, mouth ulcers, hair and skin colour changes and hair thinning, high blood pressure, diarrhoea, mild nausea, bleeding and bruising. Rarely there may be heart and thyroid problems and blood clots.

Approved by

the Medical Board. 

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Go to: 10 ways to improve your chemotherapy success and reduce side-effects

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