A Phase II, Single-arm Trial of Sunitinib and Erlotinib in Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

Zizhen Feng, Brendan D. Curti, David I. Quinn, John M. Strother, Zunqiu Chen, Rebecca Agnor, Tomasz M. Beer, Christopher W. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Overexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its ligands occur frequently in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Combined vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGF-R) and EGFR inhibition may overcome resistance to VEGF-R inhibitor monotherapy. We performed a dose-escalation phase II study of sunitinib plus erlotinib in advanced renal cell carcinoma. Patients and Methods: Patients with metastatic clear cell or papillary RCC were eligible. Prior therapy was allowed except sunitinib or erlotinib. Three dose levels of erlotinib (50, 100, 150 mg daily) were evaluated in combination with sunitinib 50 mg. Thirty-seven patients were treated at maximum tolerated dose to determine efficacy. The primary endpoint was 8-month progression-free survival (PFS) rate. The trial was powered to assess for a difference between a median PFS of less than 50% with a targeted 70% PFS for the combination. Results: The 8-month PFS rate was 40% (95% CI: 23-56). Median PFS was 5.8 months (95% CI: 4.1-9.7) and median overall survival (OS) was 26.3 months (95% CI: 16.1-34.0). The objective response rate was 22% and an additional 59% of patients had stable disease for at least 6 weeks. The most common adverse events for all grades were diarrhea, rash, fatigue, and dysgeusia. Dose reduction in 1 or both of the drugs was undertaken in 17 (46%) patients, while 5 (14%) discontinued study therapy due to toxicity. Conclusion: While sunitinib and erlotinib are combinable,the 8-month PFS rate did not suggest efficacy improvement over sunitinib monotherapy (NCT00425386).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-422
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2022


  • Clear Cell Carcinoma
  • EGFR
  • Papillary RCC
  • Phase II clinical trial
  • VEGF-R

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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