FDA expands approval for Pfizer cancer drug Sutent

FILE PHOTO: The Pfizer logo is seen at their world headquarters in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 1, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

(Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved the use of Pfizer Inc’s cancer drug Sutent to help prevent kidney cancer from returning following surgical removal of a kidney.

Sutent was approved in 2006 for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors and advanced kidney cancer. It is also approved for patients with a certain type of pancreatic cancer.

The expanded approval allows Pfizer to market the drug for patients who have already had surgery to remove a kidney to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. It is the first treatment to be used in this setting.

A clinical trial showed that after five years, 59.3 percent of patients treated with Sutent had not had a recurrence of cancer or death compared with 51.3 percent of patients taking a placebo.

Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Susan Thomas