“We’re now, almost every year, receiving data from different combinations or single agents [in advanced kidney cancer], and it is very interesting that these data presented may increase the number of options for patients,” said Ignacio Durán, MD, PhD, of the Department of Medical Oncology at the Hospital University Virgen del Rocío and Instituto de Biomedicina de Sevilla, during a press briefing.
J.B.A.G. Haanen, MD, professor by special appointment, Department of Clinical Oncology of Leiden University Medical Center, also commented on the findings during the briefing.
“Kidney cancer was a very complicated disease to treat. The development of checkpoint molecules really let the idea in that perhaps kidney cancer could be sensitive to checkpoint inhibition,” said Haanen. “This is the first study of a TKI plus an anti–PD-L1 drug showing an improved PFS in this patient population. What we do not know is patients who fail this treatment—how do we treat them next? Those are the questions we need to answer. But for patients with this disease, this in itself is the real step forward.”
The release of these phase III data follows the release of topline findings from the phase III KEYNOTE-426 trial, highlighting that the combination of pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with axitinib significantly improved survival versus sunitinib as a first-line treatment for patients with advanced or metastatic RCC.
“From the information in the press release, it confirms the same approach—of a VEGF TKI plus an immunotherapy—showing benefit in kidney cancer patients,” said Motzer on the KEYNOTE-426 trial. “It also emphasizes the progress we’ve made in this disease in the last 20 years with these positive phase III trials showing benefit for our patients.”