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‘More patients want Votrient’

Published on 02/04/14 at 10:55am
Votrient image

GlaxoSmithKline is looking at patient satisfaction as a potential marketing tool for its kidney cancer drug Votrient, setting up a study which pits the brand head-to-head with Pfizer’s rival Sutent.

The objective of PISCES was to investigate patient-reported treatment preference and some health-related quality of life outcomes for patients with locally advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma (aRCC or mRCC) who received no prior therapy.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology demonstrated that more patients expressed a preference for continuing treatment with Votrient (pazopanib) than with Pfizer’s Sutent (sunitinib).

A questionnaire showed that 70% went for Votrient, compared to 22% for Sutent - a difference of 49% - the other 8% of patients expressed no preference.

PISCES was not designed to measure or compare the clinical efficacy of either drug - but it is interesting that GSK has gone down this route.

“There are now a number of therapies for advanced kidney cancer and as a result clinicians are striving to understand which medicines may be suitable for different patients,” explains Faisal Mehmud, head of US oncology medical affairs at GSK.

“We hope that the results of the PISCES study will provide additional insights from the patient’s perspective into the treatment options available and further inform clinical practice,” he adds.

The most commonly cited reasons for the preference for Votrient were ‘better quality of life’ and ‘less fatigue’, while ‘better quality of life’ (again) and ‘less diarrhoea’ were the rationales for those who chose Sutent.

Both brands are recommended by NICE as first-line treatments for the disease, which starts in cells lining the small tubes that help to make urine: in advanced cases, the tumour will have spread inside the kidney and might have gone into lymph glands nearby as well.

GSK has just ditched an application in Europe to extend Votrient’s licence to take in ovarian cancer after deciding the risk/benefit profile was not favourable.

Adam Hill

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