Publications by authors named "Hans Hammers"

93 Publications

Adjuvant Pembrolizumab after Nephrectomy in Renal-Cell Carcinoma.

N Engl J Med 2021 08;385(8):683-694

From Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (T.K.C.); Poznan University of Medical Sciences, Poznan (P.T.), and Wojewódzki Szpital Zespolony im. L. Rydygiera w Toruniu, Torun (P.S.) - both in Poland; Sungkyunkwan University, Samsung Medical Center (S.H.P.), and Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine (J.L.L.) - both in Seoul, South Korea; Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and University of Glasgow, Glasgow (B.V.), Edinburgh Cancer Centre and University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (S.N.S.), and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (N.S.) and the Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust, University College London (T.P.), London - all in the United Kingdom; Fiona Stanley Hospital, Perth, WA (T.F.), and Macquarie University, Sydney (H.G.) - both in Australia; Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan (Y.-H.C.); Fakultni Nemocnice Ostrava, Ostrava (J.H.), and Palacký University and University Hospital Olomouc, Olomouc (B.M.) - both in the Czech Republic; University Hospital Jean Minjoz, Besançon (A.T.-V.), University Hospital Bordeaux-Hôpital Saint-André, Bordeaux (M.G.-G.), Institut Universitaire du Cancer Toulouse-Oncopole, Toulouse (C.C.), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Montpellier (D.T.), and Hôpital Européen Georges Pompidou, University of Paris, Paris (S.O.) - all in France; Fundación Arturo López Pérez, Santiago, Chile (M.M.); Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia (N.H.); Omsk Clinical Oncology Dispensary, Omsk, Russia (E.K.); the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (A.A.); Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers and U.S. Oncology Research, Denver (J.M.B.); Texas Oncology, U.S. Oncology Research, Woodlands (G.D.), and the University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas (H.H.); the University of Toyama, Toyama, Japan (H.K.); Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany (J.B.); Merck, Kenilworth, NJ (R.F.P., P.Z., K.I., J.W.-R.); and USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles (D.I.Q.).

Background: Patients with renal-cell carcinoma who undergo nephrectomy have no options for adjuvant therapy to reduce the risk of recurrence that have high levels of supporting evidence.

Methods: In a double-blind, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, patients with clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma who were at high risk for recurrence after nephrectomy, with or without metastasectomy, to receive either adjuvant pembrolizumab (at a dose of 200 mg) or placebo intravenously once every 3 weeks for up to 17 cycles (approximately 1 year). The primary end point was disease-free survival according to the investigator's assessment. Overall survival was a key secondary end point. Safety was a secondary end point.

Results: A total of 496 patients were randomly assigned to receive pembrolizumab, and 498 to receive placebo. At the prespecified interim analysis, the median time from randomization to the data-cutoff date was 24.1 months. Pembrolizumab therapy was associated with significantly longer disease-free survival than placebo (disease-free survival at 24 months, 77.3% vs. 68.1%; hazard ratio for recurrence or death, 0.68; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.53 to 0.87; P = 0.002 [two-sided]). The estimated percentage of patients who remained alive at 24 months was 96.6% in the pembrolizumab group and 93.5% in the placebo group (hazard ratio for death, 0.54; 95% CI, 0.30 to 0.96). Grade 3 or higher adverse events of any cause occurred in 32.4% of the patients who received pembrolizumab and in 17.7% of those who received placebo. No deaths related to pembrolizumab therapy occurred.

Conclusions: Pembrolizumab treatment led to a significant improvement in disease-free survival as compared with placebo after surgery among patients with kidney cancer who were at high risk for recurrence. (Funded by Merck Sharp and Dohme, a subsidiary of Merck; KEYNOTE-564 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT03142334.).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1056/NEJMoa2106391DOI Listing
August 2021

A Prospective Multicenter Evaluation of Initial Treatment Choice in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Prior to the Immunotherapy Era: The MaRCC Registry Experience.

Clin Genitourin Cancer 2021 Jul 10. Epub 2021 Jul 10.

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.

Introduction: The Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma (MaRCC) Registry provides prospective data on real-world treatment patterns and outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC).

Methods And Materials: Patients with mRCC and no prior systemic therapy were enrolled at academic and community sites. End of study data collection was in March 2019. Outcomes included overall survival (OS). A survey of treating physicians assessed reasons for treatment initiations and discontinuations.

Results: Overall, 376 patients with mRCC initiated first-line therapy; 171 (45.5%) received pazopanib, 75 (19.9%) sunitinib, and 74 (19.7%) participated in a clinical trial. Median (95% confidence interval) OS was longest in the clinical trial group (50.3 [35.8-not reached] months) versus pazopanib (39.0 [29.7-50.9] months) and sunitinib 26.2 [19.9-61.5] months). Non-clear cell RCC (21.5% of patients) was associated with worse median OS than clear cell RCC (18.0 vs. 47.3 months). Differences in baseline characteristics, treatment starting dose, and relative dose exposure among treatment groups suggest selection bias. Survey results revealed a de-emphasis on quality of life, toxicity, and patient preference compared with efficacy in treatment selection.

Conclusion: The MaRCC Registry gives insights into real-world first-line treatment selection, outcomes, and physician rationale regarding initial treatment selection prior to the immunotherapy era. Differences in outcomes between clinical trial and off-study patients reflect the difficulty in translating trial results to real-world patients, and emphasize the need to broaden clinical trial eligibility. Physician emphasis on efficacy over quality of life and toxicity suggests more data and education are needed regarding these endpoints.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clgc.2021.07.002DOI Listing
July 2021

Characterization and Management of Treatment-emergent Hepatic Toxicity in Patients with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma Receiving First-line Pembrolizumab plus Axitinib. Results from the KEYNOTE-426 Trial.

Eur Urol Oncol 2021 Jul 6. Epub 2021 Jul 6.

Barts Health and the Royal Free NHS Trusts, Barts Cancer Institute, and Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

Background: Pembrolizumab plus axitinib improved efficacy over sunitinib in treatment-naive advanced renal cell carcinoma in the KEYNOTE-426 (NCT02853331) study. However, a relatively high incidence of grade 3/4 aminotransferase elevations was observed.

Objective: To further characterize treatment-emergent aminotransferase elevations in patients treated with pembrolizumab-axitinib.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Patients enrolled in KEYNOTE-426 were included in this study.

Outcome Measurements And Statistical Analysis: Three Standardized MedDRA Queries for potential hepatic disorders were used to identify patients for the hepatic event analysis subpopulation (HEAS). Alanine aminotransferase events were characterized for time to onset, time to recovery, corticosteroid use, and rechallenge with study treatment(s).

Results And Limitations: The HEAS comprised 189/429 (44%) pembrolizumab-axitinib patients and 128/425 (30%) sunitinib patients. Grade 3/4 hepatic adverse events were more common in the combination arm: 22% (94/429) versus 7% (29/425); 3% (13/429) discontinued the combination due to hepatic adverse events. In the pembrolizumab-axitinib arm, 125/426 patients (29%) had alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≥3× upper limit of normal (ULN), with median time to onset of 84 d (range, 7-840 d). Among patients with ALT ≥3× ULN, 120/125 (96%) recovered to <3× ULN following study treatment interruption/discontinuation, with a median time to recovery of 15 d (3-176 d): 68/120 (57%) received corticosteroids. One hundred patients were rechallenged with one or both study treatment(s): 45/100 (45%) had ALT ≥3× ULN recurrence, and all 45 recovered to ALT <3× ULN following study treatment interruption/discontinuation. No fatal hepatic events occurred.

Conclusions: A higher incidence of grade 3/4 aminotransferase elevations occurs with pembrolizumab-axitinib. These events should be carefully evaluated and managed with prompt study treatment interruption or discontinuation, with or without corticosteroid treatment. The decision to rechallenge with one or both drugs should be based on severity of event and thorough causality assessment.

Patient Summary: Renal cell carcinoma patients receiving pembrolizumab-axitinib are at a higher risk of liver enzyme elevations, which could be reversed with appropriate management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euo.2021.05.007DOI Listing
July 2021

Evaluating T-cell cross-reactivity between tumors and immune-related adverse events with TCR sequencing: pitfalls in interpretations of functional relevance.

J Immunother Cancer 2021 Jul;9(7)

Bloomberg~Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Baltimore, MD, USA

T-cell receptor sequencing (TCRseq) enables tracking of T-cell clonotypes recognizing the same antigen over time and across biological compartments. TCRseq has been used to test if cross-reactive antitumor T cells are responsible for development of immune-related adverse events (irAEs) following immune checkpoint blockade. Prior studies have interpreted T-cell clones shared among the tumor and irAE as evidence supporting this, but interpretations of these findings are challenging, given the constraints of TCRseq. Here we capitalize on a rare opportunity to understand the impact of potential confounders, such as sample size, tissue compartment, and collection batch/timepoint, on the relative proportion of shared T-cell clones between an irAE and tumor specimens. TCRseq was performed on tumor-involved and -uninvolved tissues, including an irAE, that were obtained throughout disease progression and at the time of rapid autopsy from a patient with renal cell carcinoma treated with programmed death-1 (PD-1) blockade. Our analyses show significant effects of these confounders on our ability to understand T-cell receptor overlap, and we present mitigation strategies and study design recommendations to reduce these errors. Implementation of these strategies will enable more rigorous TCRseq-based studies of immune responses in human tissues, particularly as they relate to antitumor T-cell cross-reactivity in irAEs following checkpoint blockade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2021-002642DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8261872PMC
July 2021

Neoadjuvant Nivolumab in Patients with High-risk Nonmetastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Eur Urol Oncol 2021 May 25. Epub 2021 May 25.

The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute and Department of Urology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA; Department of Oncology, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA. Electronic address:

Neoadjuvant immune checkpoint blockade represents a novel approach for potentially decreasing the risk of recurrence in patients with nonmetastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this early phase clincal tiral, we evaluated the safety and tolerability of neoadjuvant treatment with the programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor nivolumab in patients with nonmetastatic high-risk RCC. Nonprimary endpoints included objective radiographic tumor response rate, immune-related pathologic response rate, quality of life alterations, and metastasis-free and overall survival. In total, 17 patients were enrolled in this study and underwent surgery without a delay after receiving three every-2-wk doses of neoadjuvant nivolumab. Adverse events (AEs) of any grade occurred in 14 (82.4%) patients, with two (11.8%) experiencing grade 3 events. Ten (58.8%) patients experienced an AE of any grade potentially attributable to nivolumab (all grade 1-2), and no grade 4-5 AEs occurred regardless of treatment attribution. The most common AEs were grade 1 fatigue (41.2%), grade 1 pruritis (29.4%), and grade 1 rash (29.4%). All evaluable patients had stable disease as per established radiographic criteria, with one (6.7%) demonstrating features of an immune-related pathologic response. Quality of life remained stable during treatment, with improvements relative to baseline noted at ≥6 mo postoperatively. Metastasis-free survival and overall survival were 85.1% and 100% at 2 yr, respectively. PATIENT SUMMARY: In this study, we evaluated the safety and tolerability of preoperative administration of three doses of the immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab in patients with clinically localized high-risk renal cell carcinoma. We demonstrated the safety of this approach and found that, although most patients will not experience a radiographic response to treatment, a subset may have features of an immune-related pathologic response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euo.2021.04.002DOI Listing
May 2021

Active surveillance of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: Results from a prospective observational study (MaRCC).

Cancer 2021 Jul 25;127(13):2204-2212. Epub 2021 Mar 25.

Duke Cancer Institute, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Background: Systemic therapy (ST) can be deferred in patients who have metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) and slow-growing metastases. Currently, this subset of patients managed with active surveillance (AS) is not well described in the literature.

Methods: This was a prospective observational study of patients with mRCC across 46 US community and academic centers. The objective was to describe baseline characteristics and demographics of patients with mRCC initially managed by AS, reasons for AS, and patient outcomes. Descriptive statistics were used to characterize demographics, baseline characteristics, and patient-related outcomes. Wilcoxon 2-sample rank-sum tests and χ tests were used to assess differences between ST and AS cohorts in continuous and categorical variables, respectively. Kaplan-Meier survival curves were used to assess survival.

Results: Of 504 patients, mRCC was initially managed by AS (n = 143) or ST (n = 305); 56 patients were excluded from the analysis. Disease was present in 69% of patients who received AS, whereas the remaining 31% had no evidence of disease. At data cutoff, 72 of 143 patients (50%) in the AS cohort had not received ST. The median overall survival was not reached (95% CI, 122 months to not estimable) in patients who received AS versus 30 months (95% CI, 25-44 months) in those who received ST. Quality of life at baseline was significantly better in patients who were managed with AS versus ST.

Conclusions: AS occurs frequently (32%) in real-world clinical practice and appears to be a safe and appropriate alternative to immediate ST in selected patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33494DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8251950PMC
July 2021

Summary from the Kidney Cancer Association's Inaugural Think Thank: Coalition for a Cure.

Clin Genitourin Cancer 2021 04 14;19(2):167-175. Epub 2020 Nov 14.

Urologic Oncology Branch, Center for Cancer Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN.

Close to 74,000 cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) are diagnosed each year in the United States. The past 2 decades have shown great developments in surgical techniques, targeted therapy and immunotherapy agents, and longer complete response rates. However, without a global cure, there is still room for further advancement in improving patient care in this space. To address some of the gaps restricting this progress, the Kidney Cancer Association brought together a group of 27 specialists across the areas of clinical care, research, industry, and advocacy at the inaugural "Think Tank: Coalition for a Cure" session. Topics addressed included screening, imaging, rarer RCC subtypes, combination drug therapy options, and patient response. This commentary summarizes the discussion of these topics and their respective clinical challenges, along with a proposal of projects for collaboration in overcoming those needs and making a greater impact on care for patients with RCC moving forward.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clgc.2020.10.005DOI Listing
April 2021

Acute interstitial nephritis, a potential predictor of response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in renal cell carcinoma.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 10;8(2)

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, Texas, USA

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) such as nivolumab and ipilimumab have improved outcomes in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients, but they are also associated with immune-related adverse events (irAEs). As observed in melanoma, we hypothesized that patients experiencing an autoimmune reaction directed against the tissue of origin may be more likely to benefit from ICI. Specifically, we asked whether patients with immune-related acute interstitial nephritis (irAIN) exhibited improved outcomes. Using Kidney Cancer Explorer (KCE), a data portal and i2b2-based central database for clinical, pathological and experimental genetic data, we systematically identified all patients with mRCC at UT Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) from 2014-2018 who received at least one dose of ICI. More recent cases were identified through a provider query. We extracted creatinine (Cr) values at baseline and over the entirety of each patient ICI treatment course using KCE. Patients with ≥ 1.5-fold Cr increase over baseline were investigated. The likelihood of irAIN was determined based on the work-up (biopsy, if available), or by clinical criteria (timing of kidney injury, exclusion of other etiologies, treatment with immunosuppressants and response). We identified 177 mRCC patients who received at least one dose of ICI, 36 of whom had ≥ 1.5-fold increase in Cr over baseline while on treatment. Of those, two had biopsy-proven irAIN and one was clinically diagnosed, resulting in an incidence of 1.7%. One additional biopsy-proven case past 2018 was identified through a provider query, for a total of four patients. Two received combination nivolumab and ipilimumab in the first line, whereas the remaining received nivolumab after first line therapy. irAIN onset ranged from 1.5 to 12 months. All four patients stopped ICI with recovery of renal function, at least partially, three after receiving systemic steroids. Notably, all four patients had a deep response. In conclusion, irAIN is a rare event, but it may portend a higher likelihood of response. One possible explanation is antigenic overlap between normal renal tubular cells and tumor cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-001198DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7607606PMC
October 2020

The Reintroduction of Radiotherapy Into the Integrated Management of Kidney Cancer.

Cancer J 2020 Sep/Oct;26(5):448-459

From the Departments of Radiation Oncology.

The incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has been increasing, with a moderate subgroup of individuals who later develop metastatic disease. Historically, metastatic RCC has been managed with systemic therapy because RCC was believed to be radioresistant. Local therapies, such as stereotactic body radiation therapy, also known as stereotactic ablative radiotherapy, which utilize focused high-dose-rate radiation delivered over a limited number of treatments, have been successful in controlling local disease and, in some cases, extending survival in patients with intracranial and extracranial metastatic RCC. Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy is highly effective in treating intact disease when patients are not surgical candidates. Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy is well tolerated when used in conjunction with systemic therapy such as tyrosine kinase inhibitors and immune checkpoint inhibitors. These successes have prompted investigators to evaluate the efficacy of stereotactic body radiation therapy in novel settings such as neoadjuvant treatment of advanced RCC with tumor thrombus and oligometastatic/oligoprogressive disease states.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/PPO.0000000000000475DOI Listing
September 2020

Clinical Activity of Ipilimumab Plus Nivolumab in Patients With Metastatic Non-Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Clin Genitourin Cancer 2020 12 5;18(6):429-435. Epub 2019 Dec 5.

Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH. Electronic address:

Introduction: Ipilimumab plus nivolumab has been approved for intermediate- and poor-risk metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, the activity in non-clear cell RCC (nccRCC) is unknown.

Patients And Methods: Patients from Cleveland Clinic and the University of Texas Southwestern who had received ipilimumab plus nivolumab for metastatic nccRCC from October 2017 to May 2019 were retrospectively identified. Ipilimumab plus nivolumab was administered in accordance with the CHECKMATE 214 trial. Imaging was obtained at baseline and every 12 weeks. The baseline patient characteristics, objective response per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1, and treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) per Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events, version 5.0, were analyzed.

Results: Eighteen patients were identified. The median age was 59 years (range, 32-81 years), 77.8% were men, and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status was 0 (38%) or 1 (50%). The median treatment duration was 2.4 months (range, 0.7-12.3 months). The non-clear cell histologic types included 6 papillary, 5 chromophobe, 3 unclassified, 2 adenocarcinoma of renal origin, 1 translocation, and 1 medullary. Most had an intermediate (66%) or poor (22%) International Metastatic Database Consortium risk. The best objective response included 6 partial responses (PRs; 33.3%) and 3 with stable disease (16.7%). Of the patients with a PR, the median time to the best response was 3.0 months, and median duration of the PR was 4.3 months. The median progression-free survival was 7.1 months. All-grade TRAEs were noted in 11 patients (61.1%) and included colitis (22%), hepatotoxicity (16%), rash (11%), and fatigue (11%). Eleven patients (61%) had TRAEs requiring high-dose glucocorticoids (> 40 mg of prednisone equivalent daily).

Conclusions: Ipilimumab plus nivolumab demonstrated objective responses and notable toxicity in patients with nccRCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.clgc.2019.11.012DOI Listing
December 2020

Nivolumab versus everolimus in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma: Updated results with long-term follow-up of the randomized, open-label, phase 3 CheckMate 025 trial.

Cancer 2020 09 16;126(18):4156-4167. Epub 2020 Jul 16.

Department of Clinical Trials, Bristol Myers Squibb, Princeton, New Jersey.

Background: CheckMate 025 has shown superior efficacy for nivolumab over everolimus in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC) along with improved safety and tolerability. This analysis assesses the long-term clinical benefits of nivolumab versus everolimus.

Methods: The randomized, open-label, phase 3 CheckMate 025 trial (NCT01668784) included patients with clear cell aRCC previously treated with 1 or 2 antiangiogenic regimens. Patients were randomized to nivolumab (3 mg/kg every 2 weeks) or everolimus (10 mg once a day) until progression or unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was overall survival (OS). The secondary endpoints were the confirmed objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS), safety, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Results: Eight hundred twenty-one patients were randomized to nivolumab (n = 410) or everolimus (n = 411); 803 patients were treated (406 with nivolumab and 397 with everolimus). With a minimum follow-up of 64 months (median, 72 months), nivolumab maintained an OS benefit in comparison with everolimus (median, 25.8 months [95% CI, 22.2-29.8 months] vs 19.7 months [95% CI, 17.6-22.1 months]; hazard ratio [HR], 0.73; 95% CI, 0.62-0.85) with 5-year OS probabilities of 26% and 18%, respectively. ORR was higher with nivolumab (94 of 410 [23%] vs 17 of 411 [4%]; P < .001). PFS also favored nivolumab (HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.72-0.99; P = .0331). The most common treatment-related adverse events of any grade were fatigue (34.7%) and pruritus (15.5%) with nivolumab and fatigue (34.5%) and stomatitis (29.5%) with everolimus. HRQOL improved from baseline with nivolumab but remained the same or deteriorated with everolimus.

Conclusions: The superior efficacy of nivolumab over everolimus is maintained after extended follow-up with no new safety signals, and this supports the long-term benefits of nivolumab monotherapy in patients with previously treated aRCC.

Lay Summary: CheckMate 025 compared the effects of nivolumab (a novel immunotherapy) with those of everolimus (an older standard-of-care therapy) for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer in patients who had progressed on antiangiogenic therapy. After 5 years of study, nivolumab continues to be better than everolimus in extending the lives of patients, providing a long-lasting response to treatment, and improving quality of life with a manageable safety profile. The results demonstrate that the clinical benefits of nivolumab versus everolimus in previously treated patients with advanced kidney cancer continue in the long term.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cncr.33033DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8415096PMC
September 2020

Survival outcomes and independent response assessment with nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus sunitinib in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma: 42-month follow-up of a randomized phase 3 clinical trial.

J Immunother Cancer 2020 07;8(2)

Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas, Houston, Texas, USA.

Background: The extent to which response and survival benefits with immunotherapy-based regimens persist informs optimal first-line treatment options. We provide long-term follow-up in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC) receiving first-line nivolumab plus ipilimumab (NIVO+IPI) versus sunitinib (SUN) in the phase 3 CheckMate 214 trial. Survival, response, and safety outcomes with NIVO+IPI versus SUN were assessed after a minimum of 42 months of follow-up.

Methods: Patients with aRCC were enrolled from October 16, 2014, through February 23, 2016. Patients stratified by International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium (IMDC) risk and region were randomized to nivolumab (3 mg/kg) plus ipilimumab (1 mg/kg) every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab (3 mg/kg) every 2 weeks; or SUN (50 mg) once per day for 4 weeks (6-week cycle). Primary endpoints: overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and objective response rate (ORR) per independent radiology review committee in IMDC intermediate-risk/poor-risk patients. Secondary endpoints: OS, PFS, and ORR in the intention-to-treat (ITT) population and safety. Favorable-risk patient outcomes were exploratory.

Results: Among ITT patients, 550 were randomized to NIVO+IPI (425 intermediate/poor risk; 125 favorable risk) and 546 to SUN (422 intermediate/poor risk; 124 favorable risk). Among intermediate-risk/poor-risk patients, OS (HR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.55-0.80) and PFS (HR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.62-0.90) benefits were observed, and ORR was higher (42.1% vs 26.3%) with NIVO+IPI versus SUN. In ITT patients, both OS benefits (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.61-0.86) and higher ORR (39.1% vs 32.6%) were observed with NIVO+IPI versus SUN. In favorable-risk patients, HR for death was 1.19 (95% CI, 0.77-1.85) and ORR was 28.8% with NIVO+IPI versus 54.0% with SUN. Duration of response was longer (HR, 0.46-0.54), and more patients achieved complete response (10.1%-12.8% vs 1.4%-5.6%) with NIVO+IPI versus SUN regardless of risk group. The incidence of treatment-related adverse events was consistent with previous reports.

Conclusions: NIVO+IPI led to improved efficacy outcomes versus SUN in both intermediate-risk/poor-risk and ITT patients that were maintained through 42 months' minimum follow-up. A complete response rate >10% was achieved with NIVO+IPI regardless of risk category, with no new safety signals detected in either arm. These results support NIVO+IPI as a first-line treatment option with the potential for durable response.

Trial Registration Number: NCT02231749.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jitc-2020-000891DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359377PMC
July 2020

Salvage Ipilimumab and Nivolumab in Patients With Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma After Prior Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors.

J Clin Oncol 2020 09 3;38(27):3088-3094. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH.

Purpose: Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) are standard therapy in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The safety and activity of the combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab in patients who have received prior ICI targeting the programmed death 1 (PD-1) pathway remains unknown. We evaluated ipilimumab and nivolumab in patients with metastatic RCC after prior treatment with anti-PD-1 pathway-targeted therapy.

Patients And Methods: Patients with metastatic RCC who received prior anti-PD-1 pathway-targeted therapy and subsequently received ipilimumab and nivolumab were reviewed. Objective response rate and progression-free survival per investigator assessment were recorded. Toxicity of ipilimumab and nivolumab was also assessed.

Results: Forty-five patients with metastatic RCC were included. All patients (100%) received prior ICIs targeting the PD-1 pathway. The median age was 62 years (range, 21-82 years). At a median follow-up of 12 months, the objective response rate to ipilimumab and nivolumab was 20%. The median progression-free survival while on ipilimumab and nivolumab was 4 months (range, 0.8-19 months). Immune-related adverse events (irAEs) of any grade with ipilimumab and nivolumab were recorded in 29 (64%) of the 45 patients; grade 3 irAEs were recorded in 6 (13%) of the 45 patients.

Conclusion: Ipilimumab and nivolumab demonstrated antitumor activity with acceptable toxicity in patients with metastatic RCC who had prior treatment with checkpoint inhibition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.03315DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7499610PMC
September 2020

Summary From the First Kidney Cancer Research Summit, September 12-13, 2019: A Focus on Translational Research.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2021 03;113(3):234-243

Department of Pathology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.

Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common cancers both in the United States and worldwide. Until this year, there had not previously been a conference focused on translational studies in the broad and heterogeneous group of kidney cancers. Therefore, a group of researchers, clinicians, and patient advocates dedicated to renal cell carcinoma launched the Kidney Cancer Research Summit (KCRS) to spur collaboration and further therapeutic advances in these tumors. This commentary aims to summarize the oral presentations and serve as a record for future iterations of this meeting. The KCRS sessions addressed the tumor microenvironment, novel methods of drug delivery, single cell sequencing strategies, novel immune checkpoint blockade and cellular therapies, predictive biomarkers, and rare variants of kidney cancers. In addition, the meeting included 2 sessions to promote scientific mentoring and kidney cancer research collaborations. A subsequent KCRS will be planned for the fall of 2020.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djaa064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7936057PMC
March 2021

Improved survival after cytoreductive nephrectomy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma in the contemporary immunotherapy era: An analysis of the National Cancer Database.

Urol Oncol 2020 06 3;38(6):604.e9-604.e17. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Electronic address:

Objectives: Despite immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI) approval for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) in 2015, cytoreductive nephrectomy (CN) is guided by extrapolation from earlier classes of therapy. We evaluated survival outcomes, timing, and safety of combining CN with modern immunotherapy (IO) for mRCC.

Methods: From 96,329 renal cancer cases reported to the NCDB between 2015 and 2016, we analyzed 391 surgical candidates diagnosed with clear cell mRCC treated with IO ± CN and no other systemic therapies. Primary outcome was overall survival (OS) stratified by the performance of CN (CN + IO vs. IO alone). Secondary outcomes included OS stratified by the timing of CN, pathologic findings, and perioperative outcomes.

Results: Of 391 patients, 221 (56.5%) received CN + IO and 170 (43.5%) received IO only. Across a median follow-up of 14.7 months, patients who underwent CN + IO had superior OS (median NR vs. 11.6 months; hazard ratio 0.23, P < 0.001), which was upheld on multivariable analyses. IO before CN resulted in lower pT stage, grade, tumor size, and lymphovascular invasion rates compared to upfront CN. Two of 20 patients (10%) undergoing CN post-IO achieved complete pathologic response in the primary tumor (pT0). There were no positive surgical margins, 30-day readmissions, or prolonged length of stay in patients undergoing delayed CN.

Conclusion: Using a large, national, registry-based cohort, we provide the first report of survival outcomes in mRCC patients treated with CN combined with modern IO. Our findings support an oncologic role for CN in the ICI era and provide preliminary evidence regarding the timing and safety of CN relative to IO administration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.urolonc.2020.02.029DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7269798PMC
June 2020

Current Approaches to the Treatment of Advanced or Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Am Soc Clin Oncol Educ Book 2020 Mar;40:1-10

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, Sacramento, CA.

The optimal management approach to advanced or metastatic renal cell cancer of the clear cell type continues to rapidly evolve. Risk stratification of patients into favorable-, intermediate-, and poor-risk categories is now routinely performed. In selected individuals with low-volume indolent disease, active surveillance may be an appropriate option. Cytoreductive nephrectomy and/or surgical metastasectomy may be also be considered for selected patients after evaluation by a multidisciplinary tumor board. Systemic frontline therapy options now include immune checkpoint inhibitor-based combination (IBC) therapies such as pembrolizumab/axitinib, nivolumab/ipilimumab, and avelumab/axitinib. With unusual exceptions, monotherapy with vascular growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors or mTOR inhibitors are no longer appropriate options in the frontline setting. Despite the established efficacy of frontline IBC, most patients will ultimately require additional lines of therapy, and oncologists must think carefully when switching to another therapy, particularly in situations of drug intolerance or apparent disease progression. Systemic therapy options after IBC are generally tyrosine kinase inhibitor-based, and ongoing clinical trials will help optimize the treatment algorithm further. Despite many recent drug approvals for renal cell cancer (RCC), there remains a pressing must identify new therapeutic targets. Finally, other systemic therapy or supportive care approaches must be considered for special patient populations such as those with poor performance status, end-organ dysfunction, brain metastases, or who have undergone metastasectomy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/EDBK_279881DOI Listing
March 2020

Improving the Time to Activation of New Clinical Trials at a National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center.

JCO Oncol Pract 2020 04 16;16(4):e324-e332. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

Purpose: The time it takes a performing site to activate a clinical trial can directly affect the ability to provide innovative and state-of-the-art care to patients. We sought to understand the process of activating an oncology clinical trial at a matrix National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

Methods: A multidisciplinary team of stakeholders within the cancer center, university, and affiliate hospitals held a retreat to map out the process of activating a clinical trial. We applied classical quality improvement and Six Sigma methodology to determine bottlenecks and non-value-added time in activating a clinical trial. During this process, attention was paid to time to pass through each step, and perceived barriers and bottlenecks were identified through group discussions.

Results: The process map identified 66 steps with 12 decision points to activate a new clinical trial. The following two steps were instituted first: allow parallel scientific committee and institutional review board (IRB) review and allow the clinical research coordination committee, a group that determines university interest and feasibility, to review protocols independent of the IRB and scientific committee approval. The clinical research coordination committee continues to track the activation time, and this framework is used to identify additional improvement steps.

Conclusion: By applying quality improvement methodologies and Six Sigma principles, we were able to identify redundancies in the process to activate a clinical trial. This allowed us to redesign the process of activating a clinical trial at a matrix comprehensive cancer center. More importantly, the process map provides a framework to maintain these gains and implement additional changes and serves as an example to deploy across the campus and at other similar institutions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/OP.19.00325DOI Listing
April 2020

A Phase I Study of Alpha-1,3-Galactosyltransferase-Expressing Allogeneic Renal Cell Carcinoma Immunotherapy in Patients with Refractory Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Oncologist 2020 02 6;25(2):121-e213. Epub 2019 Sep 6.

Division of Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

Lessons Learned: HyperAcute Renal immunotherapy was well tolerated and demonstrated antitumor activity in patients requiring salvage-line treatment for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). HyperAcute Renal immunotherapy was safely administered with concomitant salvage-line treatments for mRCC, and it may be a candidate for inclusion in novel combinations for salvage treatment of mRCC because of its unique mechanism of action.

Background: HyperAcute Renal (HAR) immunotherapy exploits a naturally occurring barrier to xenotransplantation and zoonotic infections in humans to immunize patients against metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) cells. HAR consists of two allogeneic renal cancer cell lines genetically modified to express α(1,3)Gal, to which humans have an inherent pre-existing immunity.

Methods: Patients with refractory mRCC were eligible for this phase I dose-escalation trial. Concomitant treatment was permitted after the initial 2 months of HAR monotherapy. HAR was injected intradermally weekly for 4 weeks then biweekly for 20 weeks, totaling 14 immunizations. The primary endpoint was safety and determination of a maximum tolerated dose (MTD).

Results: Among 18 patients enrolled, two grade 3 adverse events (AEs) were attributed to HAR, lymphopenia and injection site reaction, and no grade 4/5 AEs occurred. The recommended phase II dose (RP2D) was 300 million cells. One patient had a partial response and eight patients had stable disease, for a disease control rate of 50% (9/18). Median overall survival with low-dose HAR was 14.2 months and was 25.3 months with high-dose HAR.

Conclusion: In pretreated mRCC, HAR immunotherapy was well tolerated and demonstrated antitumor activity. HAR immunotherapy may be a candidate for inclusion in novel combinations for salvage treatment of mRCC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1634/theoncologist.2019-0599DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7011628PMC
February 2020

The society for immunotherapy of cancer consensus statement on immunotherapy for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

J Immunother Cancer 2019 12 20;7(1):354. Epub 2019 Dec 20.

Georgetown, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Research Building, Room E501 3970 Reservoir Road NW, Washington, DC, 20057, USA.

The approval of immunotherapeutic agents and immunotherapy-based combination strategies in recent years has revolutionized the treatment of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC). Nivolumab, a programmed death 1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor monoclonal antibody, was approved as monotherapy in 2015 for aRCC after treatment with a VEGF-targeting agent. In April 2018, the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, a CTLA-4 inhibitor, was approved for intermediate- and poor-risk, previously untreated patients with aRCC. Then, in 2019, combinations therapies consisting of pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1) or avelumab (anti-PD-ligand (L) 1) with axitinib (a VEGF receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor) were also approved to treat aRCC and are likely to produce dramatic shifts in the therapeutic landscape. To address the rapid advances in immunotherapy options for patients with aRCC, the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) reconvened its Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines (CIG) Renal Cell Carcinoma Subcommittee and tasked it with generating updated consensus recommendations for the treatment of patients with this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40425-019-0813-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6924043PMC
December 2019

Rational Approaches to Treatment Duration with Immunotherapy in Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Eur Urol Focus 2020 01 19;6(1):31-33. Epub 2019 Nov 19.

Division of Hematology and Oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA. Electronic address:

Immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have revolutionized the treatment paradigm for metastatic renal cell carcinoma. The appropriate duration for ICI treatment is not clear, however. Analyses of landmark trials reveal that some patients exhibit sustained durable responses to ICIs even after treatment discontinuation, resulting in prolonged treatment-free intervals that can mitigate potential toxicities and the considerable financial burden associated with treatment. Adaptive approaches with PD1 monotherapy and combination immunotherapy tailored to tumor response are ongoing. More efforts will be needed to clarify the ideal ICI dosing regimen to maximize oncological benefit while minimizing treatment-related adverse effects and costs. PATIENT SUMMARY: We reviewed considerations surrounding treatment strategies when using immunotherapy to treat patients with kidney cancer. It is clear that some patients can experience prolonged cancer control when discontinuing immunotherapy. However, individualized approaches will be necessary to strike a balance between optimizing patient outcomes and reducing unnecessary side effects and cost.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.euf.2019.10.010DOI Listing
January 2020

Eligibility and Radiologic Assessment for Adjuvant Clinical Trials in Kidney Cancer.

JAMA Oncol 2020 Jan;6(1):133-141

Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.

Purpose: To harmonize the eligibility criteria and radiologic disease assessment definitions in clinical trials of adjuvant therapy for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Method: On November 28, 2017, US-based experts in RCC clinical trials, including medical oncologists, urologic oncologists, regulators, biostatisticians, radiologists, and patient advocates, convened at a public workshop to discuss eligibility for trial entry and radiologic criteria for assessing disease recurrence in adjuvant trials in RCC. Multiple virtual meetings were conducted to address the issues identified at the workshop.

Results: The key workshop conclusions for adjuvant RCC therapy clinical trials were as follows. First, patients with non-clear cell RCC could be routinely included, preferably in an independent cohort. Second, patients with T3-4, N+M0, and microscopic R1 RCC tumors may gain the greatest advantages from adjuvant therapy. Third, trials of agents not excreted by the kidney should not exclude patients with severe renal insufficiency. Fourth, therapy can begin 4 to 16 weeks after the surgical procedure. Fifth, patients undergoing radical or partial nephrectomy should be equally eligible. Sixth, patients with microscopically positive soft tissue or vascular margins without gross residual or radiologic disease may be included in trials. Seventh, all suspicious regional lymph nodes should be fully resected. Eighth, computed tomography should be performed within 4 weeks before trial enrollment; for patients with renal insufficiency who cannot undergo computed tomography with contrast, noncontrast chest computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging of the abdomen and pelvis with gadolinium should be performed. Ninth, when feasible, biopsy should be undertaken to identify any malignant disease. Tenth, when biopsy is not feasible, a uniform approach should be used to evaluate indeterminate radiologic findings to identify what constitutes no evidence of disease at trial entry and what constitutes radiologic evidence of disease. Eleventh, a uniform approach for establishing the date of recurrence should be included in any trial design. Twelfth, patient perspectives on the use of placebo, conditions for unblinding, and research biopsies should be considered carefully during the conduct of an adjuvant trial.

Conclusions And Relevance: The discussions suggested that a uniform approach to eligibility criteria and radiologic disease assessment will lead to more consistently interpretable trial results in the adjuvant RCC therapy setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamaoncol.2019.4117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8127869PMC
January 2020

Pathologic response and surgical outcomes in patients undergoing nephrectomy following receipt of immune checkpoint inhibitors for renal cell carcinoma.

Urol Oncol 2019 12 12;37(12):924-931. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX. Electronic address:

Objective: To evaluate the pathologic response, safety, and feasibility of nephrectomy following receipt of immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Methods: Patients who underwent nephrectomy for RCC after exposure to nivolumab monotherapy or combination ipilimumab/nivolumab were reviewed. Primary surgical outcomes included operative time (OT), estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), readmission rates, and complication rates. Pathologic response in the primary and metastatic sites constituted secondary outcomes.

Results: Eleven nephrectomies (10 radical, 1 partial) were performed in 10 patients after ICI with median postoperative follow-up 180 days. Six patients received 1 to 4 cycles of ipilimumab/nivolumab, while 5 received 2 to 12 infusions of nivolumab preoperatively. Five surgeries were performed laparoscopically, and 4 patients underwent concomitant thrombectomy. One patient exhibited complete response (pT0) to ICI, and 3/4 patients who underwent metastasectomy for hepatic, pulmonary, or adrenal lesions exhibited no detectable malignancy in any of the metastases resected. No patients experienced any major intraoperative complications, and all surgical margins were negative. Median OT, EBL, and LOS were 180 minutes, 100 ml, and 4 days, respectively. Four patients experienced a complication, including 3 that were addressed with interventional radiology procedures. One patient died of progressive disease >3 months after surgery, and 1 patient succumbed to pulmonary embolism complicated by sepsis. No complications or readmissions were noted in 6 patients.

Conclusion: Nephrectomy following ICI for RCC is safe and technically feasible with favorable surgical outcomes and pathologic response. Timing of the nephrectomy relative to checkpoint dosing did not seem to impact outcome. Biopsies of lesions responding radiographically to ICI may warrant attention prior to surgical excision.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.urolonc.2019.08.012DOI Listing
December 2019

Nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus sunitinib in first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma: extended follow-up of efficacy and safety results from a randomised, controlled, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 10 16;20(10):1370-1385. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

Department of Oncology, Tom Baker Cancer Center, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada.

Background: In the ongoing phase 3 CheckMate 214 trial, nivolumab plus ipilimumab showed superior efficacy over sunitinib in patients with previously untreated intermediate-risk or poor-risk advanced renal cell carcinoma, with a manageable safety profile. In this study, we aimed to assess efficacy and safety after extended follow-up to inform the long-term clinical benefit of nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus sunitinib in this setting.

Methods: In the phase 3, randomised, controlled CheckMate 214 trial, patients aged 18 years and older with previously untreated, advanced, or metastatic histologically confirmed renal cell carcinoma with a clear-cell component were recruited from 175 hospitals and cancer centres in 28 countries. Patients were categorised by International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium risk status into favourable-risk, intermediate-risk, and poor-risk subgroups and randomly assigned (1:1) to open-label nivolumab (3 mg/kg intravenously) plus ipilimumab (1 mg/kg intravenously) every 3 weeks for four doses, followed by nivolumab (3 mg/kg intravenously) every 2 weeks; or sunitinib (50 mg orally) once daily for 4 weeks (6-week cycle). Randomisation was done through an interactive voice response system, with a block size of four and stratified by risk status and geographical region. The co-primary endpoints for the trial were overall survival, progression-free survival per independent radiology review committee (IRRC), and objective responses per IRRC in intermediate-risk or poor-risk patients. Secondary endpoints were overall survival, progression-free survival per IRRC, and objective responses per IRRC in the intention-to-treat population, and adverse events in all treated patients. In this Article, we report overall survival, investigator-assessed progression-free survival, investigator-assessed objective response, characterisation of response, and safety after extended follow-up. Efficacy outcomes were assessed in all randomly assigned patients; safety was assessed in all treated patients. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02231749, and is ongoing but now closed to recruitment.

Findings: Between Oct 16, 2014, and Feb 23, 2016, of 1390 patients screened, 1096 (79%) eligible patients were randomly assigned to nivolumab plus ipilimumab or sunitinib (550 vs 546 in the intention-to-treat population; 425 vs 422 intermediate-risk or poor-risk patients, and 125 vs 124 favourable-risk patients). With extended follow-up (median follow-up 32·4 months [IQR 13·4-36·3]), in intermediate-risk or poor-risk patients, results for the three co-primary efficacy endpoints showed that nivolumab plus ipilimumab continued to be superior to sunitinib in terms of overall survival (median not reached [95% CI 35·6-not estimable] vs 26·6 months [22·1-33·4]; hazard ratio [HR] 0·66 [95% CI 0·54-0·80], p<0·0001), progression-free survival (median 8·2 months [95% CI 6·9-10·0] vs 8·3 months [7·0-8·8]; HR 0·77 [95% CI 0·65-0·90], p=0·0014), and the proportion of patients achieving an objective response (178 [42%] of 425 vs 124 [29%] of 422; p=0·0001). Similarly, in intention-to-treat patients, nivolumab and ipilimumab showed improved efficacy compared with sunitinib in terms of overall survival (median not reached [95% CI not estimable] vs 37·9 months [32·2-not estimable]; HR 0·71 [95% CI 0·59-0·86], p=0·0003), progression-free survival (median 9·7 months [95% CI 8·1-11·1] vs 9·7 months [8·3-11·1]; HR 0·85 [95% CI 0·73-0·98], p=0·027), and the proportion of patients achieving an objective response (227 [41%] of 550 vs 186 [34%] of 546 p=0·015). In all treated patients, the most common grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events in the nivolumab and ipilimumab group were increased lipase (57 [10%] of 547), increased amylase (31 [6%]), and increased alanine aminotransferase (28 [5%]), whereas in the sunitinib group they were hypertension (90 [17%] of 535), fatigue (51 [10%]), and palmar-plantar erythrodysaesthesia (49 [9%]). Eight deaths in the nivolumab plus ipilimumab group and four deaths in the sunitinib group were reported as treatment-related.

Interpretation: The results suggest that the superior efficacy of nivolumab plus ipilimumab over sunitinib was maintained in intermediate-risk or poor-risk and intention-to-treat patients with extended follow-up, and show the long-term benefits of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma across all risk categories.

Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb and ONO Pharmaceutical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(19)30413-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7497870PMC
October 2019

Stereotactic Ablative Radiation Therapy (SAbR) Used to Defer Systemic Therapy in Oligometastatic Renal Cell Cancer.

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2019 10 1;105(2):367-375. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Department of Radiation Oncology; Kidney Cancer Program, Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center. Electronic address:

Purpose: Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SAbR) is a promising alternative for selected patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with oligometastasis. The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of SAbR for longitudinal control in patients with persistently oligometastatic RCC. We report the impact of SAbR on tumor control rates as well as its tolerability in systemic therapy-naïve patients with oligometastatic disease (without brain metastases) and assess the effect of SAbR on subsequent first line systemic therapy by comparison to historical controls.

Methods And Materials: We reviewed patients with metastatic RCC treated with front-line SAbR with a curative intent from 2007 to 2017 at UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program. We analyzed local control rates (LCR), toxicity, freedom from systemic therapy (FST), type and duration of first-line systemic therapy, and overall survival (OS). Cox regression and Kaplan-Meier analyses were used.

Results: We identified 47 patients with oligometastatic RCC treated with SAbR to 88 metastases; 11 patients had more than 1 SAbR course. The local control rate was 91.5% at 2 years with no reported grade ≥3 toxicity. With a median follow-up of 30 months (interquartile range, 13.7-40.9), median FST from first SAbR was 15.2 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 8.8-40.1). The most common systemic therapies initiated after SAbR were pazopanib (60.7%) and sunitinib (14.3%). The duration of first line systemic therapy appeared unaffected by SAbR. Improved FST was observed in patients with metachronous disease (hazard ratio, 2.67; P = .02), solitary metastasis (HR, 2.26; P = .05), and non-bone metastasis (HR, 2.21; P = .04). One-year and 2-year OS after SAbR were 93.1% (95% CI, 80.1-97.7) and 84.8% (95% CI, 69.1-92.9), respectively. Median OS was not reached.

Conclusions: SAbR is an effective and safe treatment for selected patients with oligometastatic RCC, can provide longitudinal disease control without systemic therapy for over a year, and does not appear to adversely affect the effectiveness of first-line systemic therapy once initiated. Prospective validation of these findings is being sought through a phase 2 trial.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijrobp.2019.07.023DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7647381PMC
October 2019

Current Challenges in Diagnosis and Assessment of the Response of Locally Advanced and Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Radiographics 2019 Jul-Aug;39(4):998-1016. Epub 2019 Jun 14.

From the Department of Radiology (A.D.d.L., A.P., D.N.C., I.P.), Advanced Imaging Research Center (D.N.C., I.P.), Department of Pathology (P.K.), Department of Urology (P.K.), Kidney Cancer Program-Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (P.K., H.H., J.B., I.P.), and Department of Internal Medicine (H.H., J.B.), UT Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd, Dallas, TX 75390.

Locally advanced and metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) present a specific set of challenges to the radiologist. The detection of metastatic disease is confounded by the ability of RCC to metastasize to virtually any part of the human body long after surgical resection of the primary tumor. This includes sites not commonly included in routine surveillance, which come to light after the patient becomes symptomatic. In the assessment of treatment response, the phenomenon of tumor heterogeneity, where clone selection through systemic therapy drives the growth of potentially more aggressive phenotypes, can result in oligoprogression despite overall disease control. Finally, advances in therapy have resulted in the development of immuno-oncologic agents that may result in changes that are not adequately evaluated with conventional size-based response criteria and may even be misinterpreted as progression. This article reviews the common challenges a radiologist may encounter in the evaluation of patients with locally advanced and metastatic RCC. RSNA, 2019.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1148/rg.2019180178DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6677287PMC
May 2020

Cabozantinib in advanced non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma: a multicentre, retrospective, cohort study.

Lancet Oncol 2019 04 28;20(4):581-590. Epub 2019 Feb 28.

Abramson Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Background: Cabozantinib is approved for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma on the basis of studies done in clear-cell histology. The activity of cabozantinib in patients with non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma is poorly characterised. We sought to analyse the antitumour activity and toxicity of cabozantinib in advanced non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma.

Methods: We did a multicentre, international, retrospective cohort study of patients with metastatic non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma treated with oral cabozantinib during any treatment line at 22 centres: 21 in the USA and one in Belgium. Eligibility required patients with histologically confirmed non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma who received cabozantinib for metastatic disease during any treatment line roughly between 2015 and 2018. Mixed tumours with a clear-cell histology component were excluded. No other restrictive inclusion criteria were applied. Data were obtained from retrospective chart review by investigators at each institution. Demographic, surgical, pathological, and systemic therapy data were captured with uniform database templates to ensure consistent data collection. The main objectives were to estimate the proportion of patients who achieved an objective response, time to treatment failure, and overall survival after treatment.

Findings: Of 112 identified patients with non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma treated at the participating centres, 66 (59%) had papillary histology, 17 (15%) had Xp11.2 translocation histology, 15 (13%) had unclassified histology, ten (9%) had chromophobe histology, and four (4%) had collecting duct histology. The proportion of patients who achieved an objective response across all histologies was 30 (27%, 95% CI 19-36) of 112 patients. At a median follow-up of 11 months (IQR 6-18), median time to treatment failure was 6·7 months (95% CI 5·5-8·6), median progression-free survival was 7·0 months (5·7-9·0), and median overall survival was 12·0 months (9·2-17·0). The most common adverse events of any grade were fatigue (58 [52%]), and diarrhoea (38 [34%]). The most common grade 3 events were skin toxicity (rash and palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia; five [4%]) and hypertension (four [4%]). No treatment-related deaths were observed. Across 54 patients with available next-generation sequencing data, the most frequently altered somatic genes were CDKN2A (12 [22%]) and MET (11 [20%]) with responses seen irrespective of mutational status.

Interpretation: While we await results from prospective studies, this real-world study provides evidence supporting the antitumour activity and safety of cabozantinib across non-clear-cell renal cell carcinomas. Continued support of international collaborations and prospective ongoing studies targeting non-clear-cell renal cell carcinoma subtypes and specific molecular alterations are warranted to improve outcomes across these rare diseases with few evidence-based treatment options.

Funding: None.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30907-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6849381PMC
April 2019

Sources of Frustration Among Patients Diagnosed With Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Front Oncol 2019 22;9:11. Epub 2019 Jan 22.

Department of Urology, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.

Despite numerous therapeutic advances in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), little is known about patients' perspectives on cancer care. An international survey was conducted to identify points of frustration associated with cancer care reported by patients with RCC. Data were obtained from an online survey, conducted from April 1 to June 15, 2017, through social media and patient networking platforms. This survey obtained baseline demographic, clinicopathologic, and treatment-related information. Open-ended questions accessed sources of frustration in cancer-related care and patients' suggestions for amelioration. Responses were categorized and reviewed by independent reviewers. A qualitative analysis was performed and the Kruskal-Wallis test was used to define associations between baseline characteristics and sources of frustration. Among 450 patients surveyed, 71.5% reported sources of frustration, classified as either emotional (48.4%) or practical (23.1%). The most common were fear of recurrence/progression (15.8%), distrust of their cancer care system (12.9%), and lack of appropriate information (9.8%). Female gender and non-clear cell histology were associated with both types of frustration, and older age was linked to practical sources of frustration. Patients suggested solutions included greater compassion among health care practitioners (20.7%), better access to information (15.1%) and research to improve their chances of being cured (14.7%). Sources of frustration related to emotional and practical causes were identified amongst patients with RCC. Certain demographic and clinical characteristics were associated with more sources of frustration. This study provides the first characterization of specific ways to improve the patient experience by addressing common frustrations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2019.00011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6349746PMC
January 2019

The Evolving Landscape of Immunotherapy-Based Combinations for Frontline Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma.

Front Immunol 2018 10;9:3120. Epub 2019 Jan 10.

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, United States.

Insights into the biology of advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC) and the development of agents targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) pathway have positively impacted the outcomes for patients with aRCC. With the recent approval of the dual immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), nivolumab and ipilimumab, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), and the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the era of VEGF monotherapy for untreated aRCC appears to be coming to an end for patients with access to the combination therapy. The frontline treatment options for renal cell carcinoma are evolving rapidly and will lead to the approval of other combination immunotherapies-especially those with VEGF inhibitors. Here we review the clinical data for dual immune checkpoint inhibition with nivolumab plus ipilimumab as well as the emerging data for ICI plus VEGF inhibitor combinations and discuss the challenges these will pose for the clinical practitioner.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2018.03120DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6335326PMC
October 2019

Patient-reported outcomes of patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma treated with nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus sunitinib (CheckMate 214): a randomised, phase 3 trial.

Lancet Oncol 2019 02 15;20(2):297-310. Epub 2019 Jan 15.

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: In the ongoing phase 3, CheckMate 214 trial, nivolumab plus ipilimumab improved overall survival compared with sunitinib in patients with intermediate or poor risk, previously untreated, advanced renal cell carcinoma. We aimed to assess whether health-related quality of life (HRQoL) could be used to further describe the benefit-risk profile of nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus sunitinib.

Methods: In the phase 3, randomised, controlled, CheckMate 214 trial, patients aged 18 years and older with previously untreated, advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma with a clear-cell component were recruited from 175 hospitals and cancer centres in 28 countries. Patients were categorised by risk status into favourable, intermediate, and poor risk subgroups and randomly assigned (1:1) to open-label nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks for four doses followed by nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks, or sunitinib 50 mg/day for 4 weeks of each 6-week cycle. Randomisation was done with a block size of four and stratified by risk status and geographical region. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) were assessed using the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy Kidney Symptom Index-19 (FKSI-19), Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G), and EuroQol five dimensional three level (EQ-5D-3L) instruments. The coprimary endpoints of the trial, reported previously, were overall survival, progression-free survival, and the proportion of patients who had an objective response in those categorised as at intermediate or poor risk. PROs in all randomised participants were assessed as an exploratory endpoint; here we report this exploratory endpoint. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT02231749, and is ongoing but is now closed to recruitment.

Findings: Between Oct 16, 2014, and Feb 23, 2016, of 1390 patients screened, 1096 (79%) were randomly assigned to treatment, of whom 847 (77%) were at intermediate or poor risk and randomly assigned to nivolumab plus ipilimumab (n=425) or sunitinib (n=422). Median follow-up was 25·2 months (IQR 23·0-27·4). PROs were more favourable with nivolumab plus ipilimumab than sunitinib throughout the first 103 weeks after baseline, with mean change from baseline at week 103 for FKSI-19 total score being 4·00 (95% CI 1·91 to 6·09) for nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus -3·14 (-6·03 to -0·25) for sunitinib (p<0·0001), and for FACT-G total score being 4·77 (1·73 to 7·82) for nivolumab plus ipilimumab versus -4·32 (-8·54 to -0·11) for sunitinib (p=0·0005). Significant differences were also seen for four of five FKSI-19 domains (disease-related symptoms, physical disease-related symptoms, treatment side-effects, and functional wellbeing) and FACT-G physical and functional wellbeing domains. However, there was no significant difference between the treatment groups at week 103 in EQ-5D-3L visual analogue rating scale (VAS) scores, with mean change from baseline to week 103 of 10·07 (95% CI 4·35 to 15·80) for nivolumab plus ipilimumab and 6·40 (-1·36 to 14·16) for sunitinib (p=0·45). Compared with sunitinib, nivolumab plus ipilimumab reduced risk of deterioration in FKSI-19 total score (hazard ratio [HR] 0·54; 95% CI 0·46-0·63), FACT-G total score (0·63, 0·52-0·75), and EQ-5D-3L VAS score (HR 0·75, 95% CI 0·63-0·89) and UK utility scores (0·67, 0·57-0·80).

Interpretation: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab leads to fewer symptoms and better HRQoL than sunitinib in patients at intermediate or poor risk with advanced renal cell carcinoma. These results suggest that the superior efficacy of nivolumab plus ipilimumab over sunitinib comes with the additional benefit of improved HRQoL.

Funding: Bristol-Myers Squibb and ONO Pharmaceutical.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30778-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6701190PMC
February 2019
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