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Kidney cancer patients make their preference known

BY Jon Garinn
PUBLISHED June 02, 2012
If your doctor asked you to choose between equivalent FDA-approved therapies, you would likely base your decision on a treatment's possible side effects and how they might impact your quality of life, especially if you needed to take that treatment for many months or years. In a new study of patients with metastatic kidney cancer, researchers found that quality of life considerations were significantly more important to patients choosing a treatment than to the doctors prescribing it. In the randomized, double-blinded crossover study, 168 patients received Votrient (pazopanib) for 10 weeks followed by a 14-day break and then Sutent (sunitinib) for 10 weeks, or vice-versa. Nearly two-thirds (70 percent) of patients said they preferred Votrient, compared with 22 percent who preferred Sutent, because they had a better quality of life, which included such factors as less fatigue and soreness of the feet, hands, mouth and throat, as well as fewer treatment interruptions, when taking the drug. Eight percent of patients had no preference. The researchers reported that 60 percent of physicians preferred Votrient, compared with 21 percent who preferred Sutent. About 20 percent of doctors had no preference. Speaking at a press briefing at the 48th annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago, Bernard J. Escudier, MD, of the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, called the results "very surprising." "It was a very significant difference," he told reporters. The study was among the first to consider "how patients feel when they take a drug over many months," something that "isn't reflected in traditional adverse event reporting," Escudier said. Patient-reported outcomes will be increasingly be taken into consideration when determining the effectiveness of particular therapies, he added.
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