Therapy of Treatment-Related Hypertension in Metastatic Renal-Cell Cancer Patients Receiving Sunitinib

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Treatment-related hypertension (tHTN) during sunitinib treatment is common. We retrospectively analyzed in 72 sunitinib-treated metastatic renal-cell carcinoma patients risk factors for hypertension (tHTN) and the medical treatment of tHTN. Results suggested the efficient treatment of tHTN by calcium channel blockers and by an early combination of different anti-HTN drug classes.


Treatment-related hypertension (tHTN) is frequent during sunitinib treatment. However, data on risk factors and treatment of tHTN remain scarce.

Patients and Methods:

Patients with metastatic renal-cell carcinoma treated with sunitinib from June 2004 to December 2011 were included. Medical records were retrospectively analyzed for tHTN risk factors and antihypertensive treatments (AHT). Descriptive statistics, Cox regression, and competitive risk models were applied.


A total of 51 (70.8%) of 72 patients developed tHTN after a median sunitinib treatment of 28 days. Mean blood pressure increased from 130/75 (range, 90 to 190/58 to 101) mm Hg on day 1 to 140/80 (range, 90 to 190/60 to 120, P < .001) mm Hg on day 28. Standard dose of sunitinib, age > 50 years, and prehypertension were identified as independent risk factors for tHTN. Thirty-eight patients (72.5%) in the tHTN subgroup received modification of AHT. Calcium channel blockers (CCB) were identified as the best at controlling tHTN compared to other drugs (P = .045). The combination of AHT was more potent than a dose increase of a single-drug AHT, and early AHT intervention was more efficacious than delayed start of therapy.


Patients at risk for tHTN require more rigorous blood pressure measurement. CCB seemed to be most potent and efficient, and an early combination of different classes of AHT was more efficacious than full-dose, single-agent AHT.

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