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Pembrolizumab in Combination with Axitinib as First-Line Treatment for Patients with Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC): Evidence to Date.

ABSTRACT: Over the last 18 months, 3 immunotherapy combination regimens (ipilimumab + nivolumab, pembrolizumab + axitinib, and axitinib + avelumab) were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for the first-line treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), making selection of the optimal first-line treatment regimen very challenging. As of April 2020, preferred first-line treatment options for mRCC are pembrolizumab + axitinib and ipilimumab + nivolumab, based on the improvement in overall survival and progression-free survival compared to sunitinib, as observed in pivotal phase III clinical trials. Because the combination of 2 drugs is typically more toxic than a monotherapy, careful attention must be given to overlapping toxicities. The pembrolizumab + axitinib combination led to grade ?3 adverse events in 75.8% of patients (vs 70.6% in the sunitinib group), while grade ?3 adverse events were less frequent in the nivolumab + ipilimumab group compared to the sunitinib group. Discontinuation rates due to toxicity were 10.7% for pembrolizumab + axitinib (both drugs), 22% for ipilimumab + nivolumab and were comparable with sunitinib in both studies (13.9% and 12%, respectively). The combination of pembrolizumab + axitinib may have immune-modulating functions that may provide clinical benefit without the additional toxicity observed with ipilimumab + nivolumab. In addition, this tyrosine kinase inhibitor + immune checkpoint combination should have faster treatment response in patients with larger disease burden or in more symptomatic patients, which makes this combination an excellent choice for the first-line treatment regimen for mRCC. These combinations have proven to be tolerable, though long-term results are still lacking. As treatment options for mRCC are rapidly expanding, immunotherapy combinations could potentially change the treatment paradigm, with the ultimate goal of prolonging life and eventually curing mRCC.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC7443011 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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