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ESMO 2017: Combination of Nivolumab and Ipilimumab in Advanced or Metastatic Kidney Cancer

According to the results of the CheckMate 214 trial, the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab offered a survival advantage over the standard of care (sunitinib) for patients with previously untreated advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Approximately 75% of these study patients had intermediate- to poor-risk disease.

Bernard Escudier, MD, of the Institut Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, presented the findings of this randomized phase III trial at the 2017 European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress (Abstract LBA5) in Madrid. An independent data monitoring committee has recommended that the trial be stopped early given the reported benefit with the combination therapy.

More than 1000 patients took part in the CheckMate 214 study, with 550 treated with the combination therapy and 546 treated with sunitinib. At approximately 17.5 months of follow-up, the objective response rate in intermediate- or poor-risk patients was 41.6% for the combination therapy, compared with 26.5% for sunitinib. A total of 9.4% of combination therapy patients achieved a complete response, versus 1.2% of sunitinib patients.

The investigators concluded that their study findings support the use of combined nivolumab plus ipilimumab as a potential first-line treatment in patients with intermediate- or poor-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma, particularly those whose tumor programmed cell death ligand 1 expression is at least 1%. However, they do not support its use in patients with good-risk disease.