The drug pazopanib has been found to improve progression-free survival without changing health-related quality of life. These results of the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) trial 62072 involved patients with soft tissue sarcoma, whose disease had progressed during or after prior chemotherapy.

Research investigating the quality of life of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma has been scant. The results of this new health related quality of life study demonstrate that the application of pazopanib for soft tissue sarcoma is quite complex.

The study included multiple outcome assessments, including not only efficacy and toxicity, but also cost effectiveness and patient-reported outcomes, and has provided much needed data.

Co-author Dr. Andrew Bottomley, Head of the EORTC Quality of Life Department, says:

“This is one of the few randomized clinical trials with quality of life studies undertaken in metastatic soft-tissue sarcoma in such a robust manner. It’s so important to better understand what treatment options we can offer to these patients, and we hope our results shed more light onto a field that in the past had remained much in the dark.”

Soft-tissue sarcoma is a form of sarcoma that develops in connective tissue. It is a relatively uncommon cancer, accounting for less than 1% of all new cancer cases each year. Surgery is the most common treatment for soft-tissue sarcomas.

Lead author Corneel Coens, EORTC biostatistician, explains:

“One of the intentions of this study was to investigate if, by delaying tumor progression, pazopanib would improve the quality of life of these sarcoma patients. An ambitious project as this is a relative rare and mixed patient population with little prior data about quality of life. This study informs us about the treatment balance between improving outcome at the cost of side effects.”

Pazopanib, marketed under the trade name Votrient, is a selective multi-targeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor which blocks tumour growth and inhibits angiogenesis. It has been approved for renal cell carcinoma and soft tissue sarcoma by numerous regulatory administrations worldwide.

Corneel Coens MSc1, Winette T. A. van der Graaf MD PhD, Jean-Yves Blay MD PhD, Sant P. Chawla MD, Ian Judson MD, Roberta Sanfilippo MD, Stephanie C. Manson DPhil, Rachel A. Hodge MSc, Sandrine Marreaud MD, Judith B. Prins MD, PhD, Iwona Lugowska MD PhD, Saskia Litière PhD and Andrew Bottomley PhD Health-related quality-of-life results from PALETTE: A randomized, double-blind, phase 3 trial of pazopanib versus placebo in patients with soft tissue sarcoma whose disease has progressed during or after prior chemotherapy—a European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer Soft Tissue and Bone Sarcoma Group Global Network Study (EORTC 62072) Cancer DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29426

_Illustration: Michele Angelo Petrone, Wellcome Images _

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