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Over the last 6 years, the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) has undergone dramatic changes. A better understanding of the pathogenesis and tumor biology of sporadic renal cell carcinoma has led to the approval of 6 drug regimens: 3 oral multi-targeted tyrosine-kinase inhibitors (sorafenib, sunitinib, and pazopanib), 2 inhibitors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (temsirolimus and everolimus), and 1 monoclonal antibody against the vascular endothelial growth factor (bevacizumab). Pazopanib, a multi-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets VEGFR1, 2, and-3; PDGFR- and PDGFR-, and c-Kit, was approved for the treatment of mRCC in October 2009, several years after the other drugs in its class. The efficacy and safety of pazopanib in Phase I, II, and III trials will be examined and its role in mRCC treatment will be described. Future studies that may clarify pazopanib’s role in mRCC will be discussed. Based on pazopanib’s demonstrated efficacy in treatment-naïve and cytokine-refractory patients, along with a seemingly favorable toxicity profile compared with other multi-targeted tyrosine-kinase inhibitors, pazopanib may have a unique niche in the armamentarium of treatment options for mRCC. Results from ongoing studies are awaited to confirm pazopanib’s favorable efficacy-toxicity ratio, especially in comparison with the previous first-line standard-of-care, sunitinib.
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