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Many of those living with HIV face a new life-threatening challenge: cancer
Date:6/6/2011

to the tumor and by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. However, agents in the HAART cocktail are thought to affect the same enzymes involved in sunitinib metabolism.

The AMC chose to study sunitinib because this oral medication was approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat kidney cancer, which is occurring at an increasing rate among HIV patients, and the drug is being studied in other cancer types that also affect HIV patients, such as lung and liver cancers.

Safety was examined separately for two groups within the phase I study. Group one included those whose HAART combination did not include ritonavir, while patients in group two were taking a ritonavir-based protease inhibitor HAART cocktail.

Between August 2009 and April 2011, a total of 19 patients were enrolled, treated, and completed at least one cycle of therapy. Sunitinib (50mg/day) was well tolerated in patients in group one those taking non-ritonavir based HAART regimens. Patients treated with sunitinib who were in group two, those taking the ritonavir-based therapy, experienced more side effects including higher rates of neutropenia (compared to those reported on phase III studies of sunitinib).

"Already, we have important information that can impact treatment," says Deeken. "When the trial is complete, we may have data to recommend that patients take different dosages of sunitinib based on what HAART cocktail they are taking. We also found that patients could keep taking their HIV medications safely, and that sunitinib did not affect the HIV disease status of patients in either group."

"Our HIV disease is now frequently being well controlled with HAART medications, but we are still having multiple medical problems including getting cancer earlier and more frequently," says James Weihe, a community representative for the AIDS Malignancy Consortium. "I am 60 years old and have been diagnosed with 3 minor cancers and 2 m
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Contact: Karen Mallet
km463@georgetown.edu
Georgetown University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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