Clinical data
Trade names Inlyta
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a612017
License data
  • AU: D
  • US: D (Evidence of risk)
Routes of
ATC code L01XE17 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 58%[1]
Protein binding >99%[1]
Metabolism Hepatic (mostly CYP3A4/CYP3A5-mediated but with some contributions from CYP1A2, CYP2C19, UGT1A1)[1]
Biological half-life 2.5-6.1 hours[1]
Excretion Faeces (41%; 12% as unchanged drug), urine (23%)[1]
CAS Number 319460-85-0 YesY
PubChem (CID) 6450551
ChemSpider 4953153 YesY
KEGG D03218 YesY
Chemical and physical data
Formula C22H18N4OS
Molar mass 386.469 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Axitinib (AG013736; trade name Inlyta) is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor developed by Pfizer. It has been shown to significantly inhibit growth of breast cancer in animal (xenograft) models[2] and has shown partial responses in clinical trials with renal cell carcinoma (RCC)[3] and several other tumour types.[4]

It was approved for RCC by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after showing a modest increase in progression-free survival,[5] though there have been reports of fatal adverse effects.[6]

Approvals and indications

Renal cell carcinoma

It has received approval for use as a treatment for renal cell carcinoma from FDA (27 January 2012), EMA (13 September 2012), MHRA (3 September 2012) and Australian TGA (26 July 2012) .[7][8][9][10]

Clinical trials

A Phase II clinical trial showed good response in combination chemotherapy with gemcitabine for advanced pancreatic cancer.[11] However, Pfizer reported on January 30, 2009 that Phase III clinical trials of the drug when used in combination with gemcitabine showed no evidence of improved survival rates over treatments using gemcitabine alone for advanced pancreatic cancer and halted the trial.[12]

In 2010, a Phase III trial for previously treated metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) showed significantly extended progression-free survival when compared to sorafenib.[13] In December 2011, the Oncologic Drugs Advisory Committee (ODAC) voted unanimously to recommend the approval of axitinib for the second-line treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), based on the results of the Phase III trial comparing axitinib and sorafenib.[14]

A study published in 2015[15] showed that axitinib effectively inhibits a mutated gene (BCR-ABL1[T315I]) that is common in chronic myeloid leukemias and adult acute lymphoblastic leukemias which have become resistant to other tyrosine kinase inhibitors like imatinib. This is one of the first examples of a new indication for an existing drug being discovered by screening known drugs using a patient's own cells.


The only contraindication to axitinib is hypersensitivity to axitinib.[10]

Cautions include:[1]

Adverse effects

Diarrhea, hypertension, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, dysphonia, hand-foot syndrome, weight decreased, vomiting, asthenia, and constipation are the most common side effects occurring in more than 20% of patients.[16]


Coadministration with strong CYP3A4/CYP3A5 inhibitors should be avoided where possible as they may reduce plasma clearance of axitinib.[1]

Mechanism of action

Its primary mechanism of action is thought to be Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1-3, c-KIT and PDGFR inhibition, this, in turn, enables it to inhibit angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels by tumours).[17]

It was also proposed that it might act by inducing autophagy, as some other tyrosine kinase inhibitors, like sorafenib.[18]

It has also been shown[15] to bind (in a different conformation from the VEGF binding) to the BCR-ABL fusion protein, specifically inhibiting the drug-resistant T315I mutant isoform.

The effect of axitinib on tyrosine kinases
Protein IC50 (nM)
VEGFR1 0.1
VEGFR2 0.2
VEGFR3 0.1-0.3
c-KIT 1.7


Pharmacokinetic parameters of Axitinib[1]
Bioavailability Tmax Cmax AUC Vd Plasma protein binding Metabolising enzymes t1/2 Excretion routes
58% 2.5-4.1 hr 27.8 ng/mL 265 ng•h/mL 160 L >99% Mostly CYP3A4 and CYP3A5. Lesser contributions from CYP1A2, CYP2C19, UGT1A1 2.5-6.1 hr Faeces (41%), urine (23%)


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Inlyta (axitinib) dosing, indications, interactions, adverse effects, and more". Medscape Reference. WebMD. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  2. Wilmes, LJ; Pallavicini, MG; Fleming, LM; Gibbs, J; Wang, D; Li, KL; Partridge, SC; Henry, RG; Shalinsky, DR; Hu-Lowe, D; Park, JW; McShane, TM; Lu, Y; Brasch, RC; Hylton, NM (April 2007). "AG-013736, a novel inhibitor of VEGF receptor tyrosine kinases, inhibits breast cancer growth and decreases vascular permeability as detected by dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging". Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 25 (3): 319–27. doi:10.1016/j.mri.2006.09.041. PMID 17371720.
  3. Rini, B; Rixe, O; Bukowski, R; Michaelson, MD; Wilding, G; Hudes, G; Bolte, O; Steinfeldt, H; Reich, SD; Motzer, R (June 2005). "AG-013736, a multi-target tyrosine kinase receptor inhibitor, demonstrates anti-tumor activity in a Phase 2 study of cytokine-refractory, metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC)". Journal of Clinical Oncology ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings. 23 (16S): 4509.
  4. Rugo, HS; Herbst, RS; Liu, G; Park, JW; Kies, MS; Steinfeldt, HM; Pithavala, YK; Reich, SD; Freddo, JL; Wilding, G (August 2005). "Phase I trial of the oral antiangiogenesis agent AG-013736 in patients with advanced solid tumors: pharmacokinetic and clinical results" (PDF). Journal of Clinical Oncology. 23 (24): 5474–83. doi:10.1200/JCO.2005.04.192. PMID 16027439.
  5. "FDA Approves Inlyta for Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma". January 27, 2012.
  6. John Fauber; Elbert Chu (Oct 27, 2014). "The Slippery Slope: Is a Surrogate Endpoint Evidence of Efficacy?". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel/MedPage Today.
  7. "INLYTA (axitinib) tablet, film coated [Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc]". DailyMed. Pfizer Laboratories Div Pfizer Inc. September 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  8. "Inlyta : EPAR - Product Information" (PDF). European Medicines Agency. Pfizer Ltd. 17 December 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  9. "Inlyta 1 mg 3mg, 5 mg & 7mg film-coated tablets - Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC)". electronic Medicines Compendium. Pfizer Limited. 5 December 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  10. 1 2 "PRODUCT INFORMATION INLYTA (axitinib)" (PDF). TGA eBusiness Services. Pfizer Australia Pty Ltd. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 25 January 2014.
  11. Spano, JP; Chodkiewicz, C; Maurel, J; Wong, R; Wasan, H; Barone, C; Létourneau, R; Bajetta, E; Pithavala, Y; Bycott, P; Trask, P; Liau, K; Ricart, AD; Kim, S; Rixe, O (June 2008). "Efficacy of gemcitabine plus axitinib compared with gemcitabine alone in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer: an open-label randomised phase II study". Lancet. 371 (9630): 2101–2108. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(08)60661-3. PMID 18514303.
  12. "Pfizer pancreatic cancer drug fails, trial halted". Reuters. January 30, 2009.
  13. "Pfizer's Phase III Trial in mRCC Turns Up Positive Results". 19 Nov 2010.
  14. "ODAC Unanimously Supports Axitinib for Renal Cell Carcinoma". 7 Dec 2011.
  15. 1 2 Tea Pemovska; Eric Johnson; Mika Kontro; Gretchen A. Repasky; Jeffrey Chen; Peter Wells; Ciarán N. Cronin; Michele McTigue; Olli Kallioniemi; Kimmo Porkka; Brion W. Murray; Krister Wennerberg. "Axitinib effectively inhibits BCR-ABL1(T315I) with a distinct binding conformation". Nature. 519: 102–105. doi:10.1038/nature14119.
  16. "FDA Prescribing Information" (PDF). 30 Jan 2012.
  17. Escudier, B; Gore, M. "Axitinib for the Management of Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma" (PDF). Drugs in R&d. 11 (2): 113–126. doi:10.2165/11591240-000000000-00000. PMC 3585900Freely accessible. PMID 21679004.
  18. Zhang Y (Jan 2014). "Screening of kinase inhibitors targeting BRAF for regulating autophagy based on kinase pathways.". J Mol Med Rep. 9 (1): 83–90. doi:10.3892/mmr.2013.1781. PMID 24213221.
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