A trial looking at surgery for people with kidney cancer that has spread (SURTIME; EORTC 30073)

Cancer type:

Kidney cancer
Renal cell cancer

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

This trial looked at the best time for people with kidney cancer that has spread to another part of the body to have surgery. It was supported by Cancer Research UK.

More about this trial

This trial was for people with a type of kidney cancer called clear cell kidney cancer. Doctors usually treat clear cell kidney cancer with surgery to remove the kidney (a nephrectomy), and sunitinib.

Sunitinib (Sutent) is a type of targeted cancer drug called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). It blocks the signals that cells use to divide and grow. 

Researchers wanted to find out the best time to have surgery for this type of cancer. Some people in this trial had surgery first and then sunitinib. And some had sunitinib, then surgery, and then more sunitinib.

The main aim of this trial was to find out if it is better to have surgery or sunitinib first for clear cell kidney cancer that has spread.

Summary of results

The research team found that there wasn’t much difference between having surgery first or sunitinib first.
 
This trial was open for people to join between 2010 and 2016, and the research team published the results in 2018.
 
About this trial
Everyone taking part in this trial had clear cell kidney cancer that had spread to another part of the body, and was due to have surgery and sunitinib.
 
99 people were put into 1 of 2 groups at random:
  • 50 people had surgery and then sunitinib
  • 49 people had sunitinib, then surgery and then more sunitinib 

 In the group of 50 people due to have surgery first:

  • 46 people had surgery 
  • 40 people had sunitinib after their operation
In the group of 49 people due to have sunitinib first:
  • 48 people had some sunitinib to begin with
  • 34 people had surgery
  • 26 people had more sunitinib after their operation
Results
The research team looked at how many people’s cancer had not got any worse, about 6 months after joining the trial. They found it was nearly the same in the two groups:
  • 21 out of 50 people (42%) who’d had surgery first
  • 21 out of 49 people (43%) who’d had sunitinib first
When they looked in 2017 at how many people had died, they found it was:
  • 35 out of 50 people (70%) who’d had surgery first
  • 28 out of 49 people (57%) who’d had sunitinib first 
More people in the group who had surgery first had died, but this could have been due to chance. The results are not different enough for the research team to be able to say for sure that it was due to the different treatments.
 
Side effects
Most people taking part had at least 1 side effect, but many were mild or didn’t last long. Some people had more severe side effects such as a drop in red blood cells, fever, headache or increased blood pressure.
 
Some people had complications during their operation:
  • 14 out of 46 people (30%) who had surgery first
  • 6 out of 34 people (18%) who had sunitinib first
And some people had complications after their operation:
  • 18 out of 46 people (39%) who had surgery first
  • 16 out of 34 people (47%) who had sunitinib first
Conclusion
The research team concluded that there wasn’t much difference between the two groups after 6 months. But even when a trial shows a new approach to treatment isn’t useful for a particular cancer, it adds to our knowledge and understanding of cancer and how to treat it.
 
Where this information comes from
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Axel Bex
Dr John Haanen

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC)
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Pfizer
Wales Cancer Trials Unit

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/10/050.

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

6954

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials in the UK last year.

Last reviewed:

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