Skip to main content

Does Sutent shrink tumors?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Sep 11, 2023.

Official answer


Five times as many people with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) saw their tumors shrink with Sutent compared with those who were taking interferon α (IFNα). Studies also reported that, on average, people treated with Sutent lived more than twice the number of months without tumor progression compared to those taking IFNα. Overall, clinical trials have proven that Sutent is more effective than IFNα, but some people may not tolerate it well, and it has a black box warning for severe liver toxicity. Sutent is not a cure, and it may not be effective for everybody.

Research has shown:

  • Sutent can slow cancer growth and may prevent the spread of cancer cells. Research has shown that Sutent increased the median progression-free survival by 6 months in those with metastatic RCC compared to those treated with IFNα (11 months vs. 5 months)
  • Health-related quality of life was better with Sutent compared to the IFNα group according to quality-of-life questionnaires filled out by patients
  • When Sutent was used as an add-on treatment for RCC in people who have had a kidney removed, the median disease-free survival was 6.8 years compared to 5.6 years with placebo. Side effects were more common with Sutent compared with placebo
  • When Sutent was used to treat patients with GIST, it delayed the time to tumor progression by 21 weeks (time to tumor progression was 27.3 weeks with Sutent and 6.4 weeks with placebo). Progression-free survival was 24.1 weeks with Sutent compared to 6.0 with placebo
  • Progression-free survival for patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET) was 10.2 months with Sutent and 5.4 months with placebo. The objective response rate was 9.3%.

Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop any of the following signs and symptoms of liver problems during treatment with Sutent:

  • Skin itching
  • Yellow eyes or skin
  • Dark urine
  • Pain or discomfort in the right upper stomach area.

Sutent is an oral capsule that may be taken once daily to treat certain types of RCC and other advanced cancers. It may be taken every day or on 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off schedule. It has been associated with some serious side effects such as liver damage, severe bleeding, cardiovascular events, and osteonecrosis of the jaw. It may cause a yellow tinge to the skin and lighten hair color. It belongs to the class of medicines known as multikinase inhibitors. It may also be called a VEGF/VEGFR inhibitor.

Related Questions

  • Sutent (sunitinib malate). Updated 09/2021. Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc
  • Sutent capsules.

Read next

Related medical questions

Drug information

Related support groups