As a multitargeted kinase inhibitor, sunitinib has carved its way into demonstrating itself as a most effective tyrosine kinase inhibitor in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Mechanistically, sunitinib inhibits multiple receptor tyrosine kinases, especially those involved in angiogenesis, that is, vascular endothelial growth factor receptor, platelet-derived growth factor receptor, and proto-oncogene cKIT. Sunitinib has also been implicated in enhancing cancer invasiveness and metastasis. Mechanisms of resistance are poorly understood, but both intrinsic and acquired mechanisms are thought to be involved. While the side effects are manageable, sunitinib, like many other tyrosine kinase inhibitors, can be associated with serious toxicities that require careful management including frequent dose reductions. Although still in the early stage, emerging evidence points to an immunomodulatory role for sunitinib. It is also likely to contribute to the overall outcomes, especially those seen in metastatic renal cell carcinoma, and such effects are thought to be mediated by the proto-oncogene cKIT receptor. Combination with other modalities such as stereotactic body radiation therapy, therapeutic vaccines, and checkpoint inhibitors is being pursued for improved efficacy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)