Investigational New Drugs

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1330–1338 | Cite as

Sunitinib malate in previously untreated, nonsquamous, non-small cell lung cancer patients over the age of 70 years: Results of a Phase II trial

  • Craig Reynolds
  • Alexander I. Spira
  • Larry Gluck
  • Suzanne E. Mueller
  • Feng Zhan
  • Kristi A. Boehm
  • Lina Asmar


Background Some elderly patients may have reduced tolerance the standard therapy (chemotherapy doublets) for stage III/IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Sunitinib malate (S), an oral, multitargeted kinase inhibitor, shows promise as 2nd-line NSCLC treatment. This study explored the safety/efficacy of S in elderly patients with previously untreated NSCLC. Methods Primary objective: disease control rate (DCR) at six-weeks. Secondary objectives: overall response (OR, CR+PR), progression-free survival (PFS), time to progression (TTP), one-yr survival, quality of life (QOL), and safety. Treatment: S 37.5 mg daily/42-day cycle until PD or intolerable toxicity. Key inclusion: chemo-naïve stage IIIB/IV NSCLC (nonsquamous histology); ECOG PS = 0–1; ≥70 years; normal organ function. Exclusion: hemoptysis, anticoagulation, or clotting diathesis. Other standard S-specific criteria applied. Results 63 patients enrolled/60 treated. Demographics: 51 % male, 95 % white, median age 78 years (range, 70–88), 73 % ECOG = 1, 97 % Stage IV, 83 % adenocarcinoma, 44 % prior surgery, 19 % prior radiation. With a median of 2 cycles (range, 1–16), DCR = 63 %, OR = 7 % (0 CR, 4 PR). Median follow-up = 5.8 months (all; 15.9 months survivors), median PFS = 3.0 months (range, <1–25.1), median TTP = 4.5 months (range, <1–25.1), and 1-year survival = 26.4 % [95 % CI: 15.9, 38.2]. QOL declined initially, but improved over time. Treatment-related adverse events included: fatigue (48.3 %); diarrhea (38.3 %); thrombocytopenia (33.3 %), anorexia (26.7 %), mucositis (25.0 %); nausea (25.0 %), dysgeusia (20.0 %), and neutropenia (20.0 %). Conclusions The study met its primary endpoint. S produced acceptable DCR and QOL improved; however, OR was disappointing (7 %) and toxicity was greater than expected. A biomarker to identify patients more likely to benefit from S is needed.


Community-based Elderly Lung cancer Survival Treatment naïve 



Although this research was supported by Pfizer, Inc., (New York, NY) none of the authors had a direct or indirect commercial incentive in the conduct or analysis of this trial.

Conflict of interest statement

US Oncology Network Physicians received minimal payment associated with patient accrual to cover costs of study-specific administrative costs. Dr. Reynolds discloses stock ownership for Biogen and Idec. There are no other conflicts of interest to disclose related to the authors serving as employees, consultants or on advisory boards, stock ownership, receipt of honoraria, expert testimony, or other remuneration.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Reynolds
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Alexander I. Spira
    • 2
    • 4
  • Larry Gluck
    • 3
    • 4
  • Suzanne E. Mueller
    • 4
  • Feng Zhan
    • 4
  • Kristi A. Boehm
    • 4
  • Lina Asmar
    • 4
  1. 1.Ocala OncologyOcalaUSA
  2. 2.Virginia Cancer SpecialistsFairfaxUSA
  3. 3.Cancer Centers of the CarolinasGreenvilleUSA
  4. 4.US Oncology Research, McKesson Specialty HealthThe WoodlandsUSA
  5. 5.Ocala OncologyOcalaUSA

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