Patients who were being treated with Sunitinib for kidney cancer had a better chance of survival when they had high blood pressure, according to recent research. High blood pressure may be a sign that the drug is working.
"In some kidney cancer patients, high blood pressure is a good thing."
High blood pressure is usually something to worry about, as it increases the chance of having a stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney disease, and other serious health problems.
In this case, high blood pressure showed that patients were responding well to sunitinib. When patients took other drugs to lower their blood pressure, Sunitinib's effectiveness was not lowered.
According to Brian Rini, M.D., from Cleveland Clinic's Taussig Cancer Institute, these findings suggest that doctors might be able to watch a patient's blood pressure to see how well Sunitinib was fighting off their kidney cancer.
- Researchers studied 544 patients who were taking Sunitinib for kidney cancer
- 81 percent of the patients developed systolic hypertension (high blood pressure)
- 67 percent developed diastolic hypertension
- Patients with systolic hypertension lived almost four times longer than those who did not have systolic hypertension (30.5 months longer compared to 7.8 months)
- Patients with diastolic hypertension lived about twice as long as those who did not have diastolic hypertension (32.2 months longer compared to 14.9 months)
- Patients with hypertension survived without disease progression for 2.5 to 5 times longer than those without hypertension
- Patients with systolic hypertension had 12.5 months without disease progression, compared to 2.5 months in those without systolic hypertension
- Patients with diastolic hypertension had 13.4 months without disease progression, compared to 5.3 months in those without diastolic hypertension
- Blood pressure medications did not affect sunitinib's cancer-fighting ability