Today the FDA approved Votrient (pazopanib) to treat patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have previously received chemotherapy. Soft tissue sarcoma is a cancer that begins in the muscle, fat, fibrous and other tissues.
Votrient is a pill that works by interfering with angiogenesis, which is the growth of new blood vessels needed for solid tumors to grow and survive.
A rare cancer with many subtypes, soft tissue sarcoma occurs in about 10,000 cases annually in the United States. More than 20 subtypes of sarcoma were included in the clinical trial leading to approval of Votrient. The drug is not approved for patients with adipocytic soft tissue sarcoma and gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
The safety and effectiveness of Votrient was evaluated in a single clinical study in 369 patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who had received prior chemotherapy. Patients were randomly selected to receive Votrient or a placebo. The study was designed to measure the length of time a patient lived without the cancer progressing (progression-free survival). The disease did not progress for a median of 4.6 months for patients receiving Votrient, compared with 1.6 months for those receiving the placebo.
The most common side effects in Votrient-treated patients were fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, weight loss, high blood pressure, decreased appetite, vomiting, tumor and muscle pain, hair color changes, headache, a distorted sense of taste, shortness of breath, and skin discoloration.
Votrient carries a boxed warning alerting patients and health care professionals to the potential risk of liver damage (hepatotoxicity), which can be fatal. Patients should be monitored for liver function and treatment should be discontinued if liver function declines.
Votrient was granted an orphan drug status designation for this indication. An orphan designation is given to a drug intended to treat a disease affecting fewer than 200,000 patients in the United States. Votrient was first approved in October 2009 for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer.
Votrient is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline of Research Triangle Park, N.C.