New immunotherapies have revolutionized many, many tumors, he said.
An immunotherapy can also be combined with
The study showed that the average progression-free survival was 13.8 additional months of life in patients treated with avelumab plus axitinib, compared with 7.2 months among those treated with sunitinib
The pembrolizumab-axitinib study involved 861 renal cell cancer patients. Among them, 432 received pembrolizumab intravenously plus axitinib as treatment, and 429 received sunitinib.
The study showed that the mean progression-free survival was 15.1 months in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 11.1 months in the sunitinib group. Patients who received the combination treatment had a 47% lower risk of death and a 31% lower risk of disease progression or death than those who received sunitinib
The percentage of patients who were alive was 89.9% the pembrolizumab-axitinib group, compared with 78.3% in the sunitinib group.
"We measure efficacy of cancer drugs in many different ways – patients living longer , first and foremost – but other measures as well, and across all these measures, this combination was superior to sunitinib, "he said.
"We have learned from other studies, not in kidney cancer but in other studies, when we start combining some Of these treatments, the side effects can be substantial, and that in itself can be a problem, "said he said, adding that the addition of the immunotherapy drug has prolonged survival longer than standard treatment. "Some would say that it was just a matter of a couple of months, and is that really an improvement, given the cost and side effects of the immunotherapy drugs?" patients long enough, "he said. "Can we see some patients who have remarkable improvement as a result of this treatment."
The combination treatments investigated in both studies are not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for renal cell cancer, and the costs of treatments are not known. ] Yet the question remains: "Is this going to change the standard of care? Well, I think whether or not this changes the standard of care is going to be a matter of discussion among experts," Lichtenfeld said.
"I do not think this study is going to make an immediate difference overnight, but I suspect that over time, it will become a more standard treatment for metastatic or recurrent renal cell carcinoma – kidney cancer."
Now, "it is noteworthy that these two trials had positive outcomes and demonstrated superiority over sunitinib in terms of progression-free survival and the objective response rate. The pembrolizumab trial also showed a benefit with respect to overall survival, "Escudier wrote. "Both combinations are expected to become new standards of care and be incorporated into future guidelines."
Experts in the field continue to take a close look at not only new studies but how immunotherapies overall are influencing treatment approaches. 19659025]