Dr. Singh on Drug Development for Patients With Soft Tissue Sarcomas

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Arun S. Singh, MD, associate professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, discusses drug development for the treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas.

Arun S. Singh, MD, associate professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of California, Los Angeles, discusses drug development for the treatment of patients with soft tissue sarcomas.

In the last couple years, pharmaceutical companies have taken a vested interest in developing clinical trials for patients with these rare malignancies, says Singh. That has facilitated the development of several new drugs for soft tissue sarcomas, including uterine leiomyosarcoma.

For example, pazopanib (Votrient), which is a targeted therapy often used to treat kidney cancer, has also been used to treat patients with soft tissue sarcomas. Pazopanib was approved by the FDA in 2012 for the treatment of patients with advanced soft tissue sarcoma who have previously received chemotherapy. It is an oral tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets VEGFR.

Currently, the development of immunotherapy is in its infancy in soft tissue sarcomas, says Singh. Only two clinical trials have been conducted in these diseases, and they were fairly small. Physicians are still learning how to select the right patients for these trials.

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