New cancer drug was trialled in Glasgow

Prof. Rob Jones, University of Glasgow.
Prof. Rob Jones, University of Glasgow.

A new pill which could “significantly improve” survival times for those with advanced kidney cancer has been licensed for the UK following a global trial.

Patients at 173 centres across the world, including one in Glasgow, were treated with Cabometyx, which is also known as Cabozantinib.

A total of 658 patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were involved, with pharmaceutical firm Ipsen claiming results showed a 34 per cent reduction in the rate of death, with sufferers living up to two years longer.

Professor Robert Jones, of the Institute of Cancer Sciences at Glasgow University, said the disease was becoming “increasingly common”.

He stated: “Although many cases are diagnosed at a sufficiently early stage to allow curative surgery, unfortunately in many cases the disease has already spread at the time of diagnosis and, even after surgery, the cancer can come back in a more lethal form.

“Although treatments for incurable renal cancer have greatly improved in the last 10 years, unfortunately in most cases current treatments will eventually stop working.

“Cabozantinib is a new, tablet-based treatment which significantly improves survival times and delays the time to the development of new problems for these patients.

Professor Jones added: “The licensing of this drug is particularly meaningful for patients in Scotland as patients in Glasgow took part in the clinical trial which showed that it works.”

Nick Turkentine, chief executive of the Kidney Cancer UK charity, said: “As the eighth most common cancer in the UK, it is important that we continue to make advances in the management of kidney cancer, in particular in RCC where outcomes are still poor as many patients are diagnosed when their disease has become advanced.”

Professor Robert Hawkins, director of medical oncology at the University of Manchester and the city’s Christie Hospital, was also involved in the drug trial.

He said: “Over the past 20 years, rates of kidney cancer in the UK have increased by around 70 per cent one of the most rapidly increasing cancers.

“When renal cell carcinoma spreads outside of the kidney or metastasises to other parts of the body, it is referred to as advanced RCC and then it becomes increasingly hard to treat.

“Cabometyx gives us an effective further treatment option to treat those patients with advanced RCC who have stopped responding to previous treatment.”

Ewan McDowall, vice president commercial operations for Ipsen UK & Ireland, said: “We are delighted that Cabometyx has been granted a licence for use in the UK.