3 cancer drugs raise risk of fatal side effects

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Treatment with three relatively new “targeted” cancer drugs has been linked to a slightly elevated chance of fatal side effects, according to a new analysis led by scientists at Dana-Farber.

The study looked at three drugs: sorafenib (Nexavar), sunitinib (Sutent), and pazopanib (Votrient). Sorafenib is approved to treat kidney and liver cancer, sunitinib to treat kidney cancer and gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), and pazopanib to treat kidney cancer.

Dr. Toni Choueiri, the lead author of the study, says that patients should be aware of the risks and speak with their doctor.

2 comments

  1. Patricia Morris says:

    I just read the article on the 3 drugs raising risks of fatal side effects. My mom took Sutent back in 2008 for kidney cancer. She passed away after only being on it for a month from a massive heart attack. This was a shock to us due to the fact her heart had always been so strong. The drug was beyond tough on her body she had every side affect you can imagine. Not sure if any of this can help with letting folks know to really discuss with their doctors something ours didn’t do.

  2. Bob R says:

    I believe everyone understands the risks quoted by the doctors and by reading the literature. If you take any drug without being self-informed as to the risks – shame on you or your caregiver/advocate. All you have to do is listen to the myriad of ads on TV or in magazines with the long, long list of warnings including fatal side effects from wanting longer/thicker eyelashes of all things.

    I have had Stage IV; bone, liver, pancreas, and lung mets, Renal Cell Carcinoma since 2005. I have taken all of the drugs mentioned and others, that have left me a wide variety of side effects. When the serious ones occur, you contact your oncologist immediately or head to the ER.

    I have lived 12 months on Nexavar, 26 months on Sutent, 8 months and counting on Vortient, and additional months on IL-2, Torisel, Avastin, and Interferon A. If I had lived my life based on a 1% chance of untreated fatal side effects, I would have met my first oncologist’s prediction of less than 12 months to live and I would have missed the births of 5 grand-children and the final launch of the Space Shuttle (it was on my bucket list – still several items to go!).

    My point of view is every day – life is full of risks. With RCC and other agressive cancers – you will regret not taking the risk for another day of living although I truely believe life is incredibly better on the other side of mortality. Remember, that Steve Jobs, athiest with terminal pancreatic cancer, said these final words as he left this life – Oh WOW, Oh WOW, Oh WOW.

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