Kidney Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

ASCO-SITC 2020: Is Immune Primer in Renal Cell Cancer Ready for Prime Time?

By: Celeste L. Dixon
Posted: Monday, February 10, 2020

When patients with newly diagnosed synchronous metastatic renal carcinoma were treated with ilixadencel plus sunitinib, outcomes were better than when they received sunitinib alone, according to the results of a randomized phase II trial presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology–Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (ASCO-SITC) Clinical Immuno-Oncology Symposium (Abstract 11) in Orlando. “Ilixadencel is a cell-based allogeneic off-the-shelf product aimed to prime anticancer immune response when injected intratumorally,” explained Magnus Lindskog, MD, PhD, of Karolinska Instituet in Stockholm, Sweden, and colleagues.

In the MERECA trial, 88 patients were randomly assigned 2:1 to the combination and sunitinib arms between 2014 and 2017. Those in the first arm received two doses of intratumoral ilixadencel, 2 weeks apart, prior to nephrectomy; all patients received sunitinib after nephrectomy as their first-line systemic therapy.

The confirmed overall response rates were 42.2% (including five complete responses) and 24.0% (including one complete response) in the combination and sunitinib arms, respectively. Additionally, the researchers reported, the median duration of response was 7.1 months versus 2.9 months in the combination and sunitinib groups, respectively. The median progression-free survival was 11.8 months versus 11.0 months, respectively, and the median overall survival has still not been reached in either treatment arm.

“As of July 2019, 57% and 43% were alive in the combination and sunitinib arms, respectively,” noted Dr. Lindskog and colleagues. Of note, “treatment with ilixadencel did not add any treatment-related grade 3 or 4 adverse events.”

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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