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Skin Cancer Associated With the Use of Sorafenib and Sunitinib for Renal Cell Carcinoma


  • The authors have indicated no significant interest with commercial supporters.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Thomas W. Flaig, MD, Division of Medical Oncology, School of Medicine, University of Colorado, Mail Stop 8117, 12801 E. 17th Avenue, Room L18–8117, Aurora, CO 80045, or e-mail:



Several case series have reported an association between sorafenib and the development of skin cancer, but they differ in the reported rapidity of skin cancer onset and the frequency of recurrence with ongoing multikinase inhibitor (MKI) treatment.


To compare the presentation and incidence of skin cancer in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated with sorafenib and sunitinib.

Materials and Methods

This retrospective study reviewed the records of 69 patients with RCC treated with sorafenib or sunitinib at the University of Colorado Hospital between January 2005 and July 2009.


Seven patients treated with MKI developed skin cancer (5 (13.5%) with sorafenib, 2 (6.3%) with sunitinib; 5 squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), 3 basal cell carcinomas (BCC)); all developed in sun-exposed areas during first-line MKI therapy. The median time from the start of MKI therapy until observation of a skin cancer lesion was 13.5 months.


We observed more cases of skin cancer during sorafenib treatment than during sunitinib treatment for advanced RCC; median MKI treatment duration before the identification of skin cancer was longer than 1 year.

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