Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at patient preference for pazopanib and sunitinib for advanced kidney cancer (PISCES)
This trial compared pazopanib with sunitinib as treatment for the most common type of kidney cancer called renal cell cancer. It was for people who had not yet had any treatment for kidney cancer that had spread (advanced kidney cancer).
This trial compared sunitinib with another licensed drug called pazopanib. Both sunitinib and pazopanib are biological therapies called cancer growth blockers. They stop signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow.
Researchers wanted to see if one drug caused fewer side effects than the other. In this trial, they did this by asking people if they would prefer to carry on taking one drug rather than the other. It was called a ‘patient preference study’
Summary of results
The researchers found that people preferred taking pazopanib to sunitinib.
This trial recruited 169 people. Unfortunately 1 person should not have been recruited into the trial. So the researchers were able to look at the results of 168 people.
In the 2 groups
- 82 people had sunitinib for 10 weeks, followed by no treatment for 2 weeks, then pazopanib for 10 weeks
- 86 people had pazopanib for 10 weeks, followed by no treatment for 2 weeks, then sunitinib for 10 weeks
During the study everyone filled in a couple of questionnaires. These questionnaires asked about any side effects they had and how they had been feeling. This is called a quality of life study.
At the end of the study everyone filled in another questionnaire. This questionnaire asked if they preferred their 1st treatment or their 2nd treatment and their reasons for their preference. This is called a patient preference study.
Of the 126 people who completed the patient preference questionnaire, the researchers were able to analyse 114. Of these they found that
- 70 out of every 100 people (70%) preferred taking pazopanib
- 22 out of every 100 people (22%) preferred taking sunitinib
- 8 out of every 100 people (8%) had no preference
The most common reasons people gave for preferring to take pazopanib was a better quality of life and feeling less tired.
The researchers concluded that people who had advanced kidney cancer preferred taking pazopanib to sunitinib.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Professor Robert Hawkins
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)