Sutent OKed as pancreatic NET treatment

NEW YORK — The Food and Drug Administration has approved a Pfizer drug for treating pancreatic tumors.

Pfizer announced Friday the approval of Sutent (sunitinib malate) for the treatment of progressive, well-differentiated pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors in patients with locally advanced disease that can’t be removed through surgery. Pancreatic NET is a rare cancer reported in 2 million to 4 million people worldwide every year.

“We are delighted that Sutent has been granted approval by the FDA as an effective treatment option for individuals with pancreatic NET,” said Mace Rothenberg, SVP clinical development and medical affairs for Pfizer's oncology business unit. This approval represents the third disease indication for Sutent, which was approved by the FDA in 2006 for treatment of patients with advanced kidney cancer and imatinib-resistant or intolerant gastrointestinal stromal tumor.

Imatinib is the generic name for Novartis’ drug Gleevec.

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