Metastatic sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma treated with vascular endothelial growth factor-targeted therapy

Ali Reza Golshayan, Saby George, Daniel Y Heng, Paul Elson, Laura S Wood, Tarek M Mekhail, Jorge A Garcia, Hakan Aydin, Ming Zhou, Ronald M Bukowski, Brian I Rini
Journal of Clinical Oncology: Official Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology 2009 January 10, 27 (2): 235-41

PURPOSE: Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) with sarcomatoid differentiation is an aggressive disease that is associated with poor outcomes to chemotherapy or immunotherapy. The utility of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-targeted therapy in patients with this disease is unknown.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Patients who had mRCC with sarcomatoid features in the primary tumor and who were treated with VEGF-targeted therapy were retrospectively identified. Pathology slides were reviewed to determine the percentage of sarcomatoid differentiation. Objective response rate, percentage of tumor burden shrinkage, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS) were determined.

RESULTS: Forty-three patients who had sarcomatoid mRCC were identified. The median percentage of sarcomatoid features was 14% (range, 3% to 90%). Patients were treated with either sunitinib (49%), sorafenib (28%), bevacizumab (19%), or sunitinib plus bevacizumab (5%). Partial responses were observed in eight patients (19%); 21 patients (49%) had stable disease; and 14 patients (33%) had progressive disease as their best response. Partial responses were limited to patients who had underlying clear-cell histology and less than 20% sarcomatoid elements. Median tumor shrinkage was -2% (range, -85% to 127%), and 53% achieved some degree of tumor shrinkage on therapy. Median PFS and OS were estimated to be 5.3 months and 11.8 months, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Patients who have mRCC and sarcomatoid differentiation can demonstrate objective responses and tumor shrinkage to VEGF-targeted therapy. Patients who have clear-cell histology and a lower percentage of sarcomatoid differentiation may have better outcomes with VEGF-targeted therapy.

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