Combined immunotherapy strategy could revolutionize kidney cancer treatment


The way doctors typically approach kidney cancer treatment could be evolving.

Two separate studies published [February 16] in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that renal cell cancer patients had significantly better outcomes when their treatment combined the targeted therapy drug axitinib, or Inlyta, with an immunotherapy — one study used pembrolizumab, or Keytruda, and the other used avelumab, or Bavencio.

“This is a proof of principle that we can do this if the drugs are in the same class and tolerated when combined,” said [researcher] Dr. Toni Choueiri.


The avelumab-axitinib study involved 886 renal cell cancer patients. Among them, 442 received avelumab plus axitinib as treatment, and 444 received the chemotherapy drug sunitinib, or Sutent, a first-line treatment for advanced renal cell cancer.

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The study showed that average progression-free survival was 13.8 additional months of life among patients treated with avelumab plus axitinib, compared with 7.2 months among those treated with sunitinib.

Those study results “will absolutely change the standard of care in this disease. What was seen is really unprecedented results in terms of both an overall survival benefit with the lowest hazard ratio, meaning the most benefit that’s ever seen in kidney cancer,” said [oncologist] Dr. Brian Rini.


Read full, original post: Immunotherapies could change kidney cancer care, studies suggest

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