The FDA approved sunitinib in 2006 for patients with GIST. It has been shown that sunitinib malate works in these patients because of its activity against the KIT protein. The FDA also approved Sunitinib malate in 2006 for the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer, where its effectiveness is probably due to its ability to block a different set of proteins. Sunitinib malate is drug that has been shown to inhibit the activity of the KIT protein.
A very recent report suggests that Sutent® (sunitinib) benefits one-third of patients with advanced malignant melanoma who have previously failed dacarbazine-based chemotherapy. The details of this Phase II study were presented at the Joint ECCO 15 – 34th ESMO Multidisciplinary Congress in Berlin, September 20-24, 2009. Five of 21 patients had stable disease (27.8%) with a mean duration of 4.4 months. I am not aware of other reported studies for Sutent in melanoma.
Sutent is in a clinical trial for melanoma: Clinical Trial of Sutent to Treat Metastatic Melanoma, NCT00631618. The purpose of this study is to investigate whether an investigational drug called sunitinib malate is safe and effective in treating metastatic melanoma in patients with KIT mutations.
Decoster L, Vance Broek I, Declerq D, et al. Activity of sunitinib in advanced malignant melanoma and its correlation with potential predictive biomarkers. European Journal of Cancer Supplements. 2009;7, No.2:577.
Julia A. Newton Bishop, Pippa G. Corrie, Per N. Hall, Judy Evans, Martin E. Gore, Nigel Kirkham, Dafydd L.L. Roberts, Alex V. Anstey, Richard J. Barlow, Neil H. Cox UK guidelines for the management of cutaneous melanoma British Journal of Plastic Surgery – January 2002 (Vol. 55, Issue 1, Pages 46-54,