Torisel is a medicine prescribed to treat advanced kidney cancer. It comes as an intravenous injection that is administered by your healthcare provider once a week. This medication works by blocking the action of certain enzymes in the body, which can help to slow down the growth of the cancer. Side effects may include nausea, weakness, and mouth sores.
What Is Torisel?
Torisel® (temsirolimus) is a prescription medication approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). It belongs to a group of medicines known as kinase inhibitors.
Torisel is made by Pfizer Inc., and distributed by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a subsidiary of Pfizer Inc.
How Does It Work?
Protein kinases are enzymes found in the body that regulate cell function, including cell growth. Torisel works by blocking the action of a specific protein kinase called the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR).
When mTOR is not functioning properly, as is the case in certain types of cancer, it causes cells to grow and multiply abnormally. This enzyme also promotes blood vessel growth into tumors, which supplies cancer cells with nutrients and energy, and gives them a way to spread to other areas of the body.
By blocking the action of mTOR, Torisel may slow down the growth of cancer and tumor cells. It also cuts off the blood supply to cancer cells, which may help slow down the spread of the cancer.
Clinical Effects of Torisel
Torisel has been shown to extend survival time in people with advanced kidney cancer who were not previously treated for their cancer. In this study, people given Torisel survived an average of 3.6 months longer than people given a different kidney cancer treatment (interferon-alpha or INF-alpha).
Specifically, the group of people given Torisel survived an average of 10.9 months after starting treatment with the drug, while the group receiving INF-alpha survived an average of 7.3 months. The combination of the two cancer treatments did not appear to be more effective than using INF-alpha alone, and caused more side effects.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed October 4, 2011.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed October 4, 2011.
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