A trial looking at patient preference for pazopanib and sunitinib for advanced kidney cancer (PISCES)

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Cancer type:

Kidney cancer
Renal cell carcinoma




Phase 3

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).

Doctors often use biological therapy to treat advanced kidney cancer. One of the licensed drugs Open a glossary item they can use is called sunitinib.

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.

It was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 2 groups. Neither the person nor their doctor knew which group they were in. This is called a double blind trial.

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. 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

Professor Robert Hawkins

Supported by

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 6693

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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

Last reviewed:

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