Kidney Cancer Canada applauds Ontario for funding treatment for advanced kidney cancer

TORISEL is reimbursed for advanced renal cell carcinoma in the province with the greatest number of patients

TORONTO, July 14 /CNW/ - Ontario has taken a major step forward in access to treatment for patients in the province with advanced kidney cancer by granting coverage for TORISELâ„¢ (temsirolimus), for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with poor prognostic features.

"We applaud Ontario for their commitment to kidney cancer patients, by granting access to therapies like TORISEL," said Deb Maskens, Chair, Kidney Cancer Canada and also a kidney cancer patient. "Our hope is other provinces will unite in this decision and soon all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have access to the treatments they need to fight their disease effectively."

In addition to Ontario, TORISEL is also reimbursed in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia.

Unlike most other cancers, kidney cancer doesn't respond to conventional treatments like chemotherapy or radiation, making access to targeted treatments that much more important. Thanks to compassionate access to TORISEL, kidney cancer patient John Buczkowski from St. Catharines, Ontario, has been given time he didn't expect when he first received his diagnosis.

"I've been on TORISEL for two years and four months now and it has given me the blessing of time, time to be with my family and even witness the birth of my first grandson," said John. "With Ontario's decision to reimburse TORISEL I hope more people will have the opportunities I've had to fight this disease and enjoy the good things in life."

Providing Options for Kidney Cancer Patients

The introduction of targeted treatments for kidney cancer in the past five years has changed the lives of people living with the disease. But, according to Dr. Anil Kapoor, medical oncologist at McMaster University, just like with other cancers, one treatment most likely won't be enough.

"Having another option is what patients need to fight this disease," says Dr. Kapoor. "We need more flexibility with treatment options, so when the initial treatment stops working, we as physicians can tailor patients' treatment to be as effective as possible."

TORISEL, Nexavar and Sutent, the most widely prescribed treatments for kidney cancer, are not equally accessible across the country and they are only available as first-line treatments. In addition, Afinitor, recently approved by Health Canada has not yet been granted access in any province.

TORISEL is indicated as a first-line therapy for people with metastatic (advanced) renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common form of kidney cancer. TORISEL is the only targeted therapy that has been shown to extend survival for patients with poor prognosis and non-clear cell kidney cancer.1 It is estimated that 15 to 20 per cent of kidney cancer is non-clear cell RCC,2 which means for the first time, Ontarians have funded access to a proven treatment for their disease. TORISEL has a unique mode of action compared to other available kidney cancer treatments and is shown to extend median overall survival for patients with metastatic RCC.3

About Kidney Cancer and Renal Cell Carcinoma

In 2010, approximately 4,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with kidney cancer and 1,650 will die from the disease.4 Ontario is expected to have the greatest number of men and women diagnosed with kidney cancer this year in Canada.5 Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults, representing about 85 per cent of all kidney cancer.6 The cancer is formed in the nephrons - the tiny tubes of the kidney that filter blood and produce urine. RCC accounts for two per cent of all cancer-related deaths.7 Approximately 25 per cent of people with RCC are initially diagnosed with advanced disease, including locally invasive or metastatic RCC. The five year survival rate for a patient diagnosed with metastatic (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body) RCC is less than 10 per cent.8

Kidney Cancer Canada

Kidney Cancer Canada is the first Canadian-based, patient-led registered charity established to improve the quality of life for patients and their families living with kidney cancer. Kidney Cancer Canada advocates for access to new treatments, provides support and information to patients, funds much-needed research, and works to increase awareness of kidney cancer as a significant health issue. For more information please visit: www.kidneycancercanada.ca.

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1 TORISEL (Temsirolimus) product monograph, October 2008.
2 Schrader AJ. Olbert PJ. Hegele A. Varga Z. Hofmann R. Metastatic non- clear cell renal cell carcinoma: current therapeutic options. BJU International. 101(11):1343-5, 2008 Jun.
3 Hudes G. Temsirolimus, Interferon Alfa, or Both for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma. NEJM 2007; 356:2271-2281. Page 2271.
4 Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2010, Canadian Cancer Society. Page 12.
5 Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2010, Canadian Cancer Society, Page 20.
6 BC Cancer Agency. Types of Cancer and Sequole - Kidney. Available at:http://www.bccancer.bc.ca/PPI/TypesofCancer/Kidney/default.htm (Revised
January 1999; Accessed January 23, 2007).
7 Canadian Cancer Statistics, 2010, Canadian Cancer Society. Page 13 - 14
8 Cancer Care Nova Scotia. Guidelines for the Role of Interferon-Alpha (IFN-a) In Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). 2001 September. Available at: http://www.cancercare.ns.ca/documents/Interferon_Alpha_Renal_Cell_dg.pdf (Accessed January 23, 2007).

For further information:

Environics Communications

Jilda Lazer or Jeanelle Frampton

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