There is very little information on the effectiveness of sunitinib (a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor) as a second-line treatment after first-line treatment with immunotherapy for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). A study published in Clinical Genitourinary Cancer last month looked at 102 patients in a real-world setting who were treated with sunitinib after having immunotherapy or immunotherapy combinations as their first treatment. Most patients had intermediate (54%) or poor risk (36%) disease.

Average overall survival for these patients was 15.6 months, with a 1-year survival rate of 57.5%. Sunitinib shrank the cancer in 22.5% of patients and the average time on treatment was 5.4 months.

Despite the availability of effective first-line treatments in recent years, second-line sunitinib continues to be effective after failure of immunotherapy. Further studies are needed to confirm the optimal sequence of treatments for metastatic RCC.

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