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      Pembrolizumab plus Axitinib versus Sunitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma

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          Abstract

          The combination of pembrolizumab and axitinib showed antitumor activity in a phase 1b trial involving patients with previously untreated advanced renal-cell carcinoma. Whether pembrolizumab plus axitinib would result in better outcomes than sunitinib in such patients was unclear.

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          Most cited references 8

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          Prognostic factors for overall survival in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated with vascular endothelial growth factor-targeted agents: results from a large, multicenter study.

          There are no robust data on prognostic factors for overall survival (OS) in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) treated with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) -targeted therapy. Baseline characteristics and outcomes on 645 patients with anti-VEGF therapy-naïve metastatic RCC were collected from three US and four Canadian cancer centers. Cox proportional hazards regression, followed by bootstrap validation, was used to identify independent prognostic factors for OS. The median OS for the whole cohort was 22 months (95% CI, 20.2 to 26.5 months), and the median follow-up was 24.5 months. Overall, 396, 200, and 49 patients were treated with sunitinib, sorafenib, and bevacizumab, respectively. Four of the five adverse prognostic factors according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) were independent predictors of short survival: hemoglobin less than the lower limit of normal (P < .0001), corrected calcium greater than the upper limit of normal (ULN; P = .0006), Karnofsky performance status less than 80% (P < .0001), and time from diagnosis to treatment of less than 1 year (P = .01). In addition, neutrophils greater than the ULN (P < .0001) and platelets greater than the ULN (P = .01) were independent adverse prognostic factors. Patients were segregated into three risk categories: the favorable-risk group (no prognostic factors; n = 133), in which median OS (mOS) was not reached and 2-year OS (2y OS) was 75%; the intermediate-risk group (one or two prognostic factors; n = 301), in which mOS was 27 months and 2y OS was 53%; and the poor-risk group (three to six prognostic factors; n = 152), in which mOS was 8.8 months and 2y OS was 7% (log-rank P < .0001). The C-index was 0.73. This model validates components of the MSKCC model with the addition of platelet and neutrophil counts and can be incorporated into patient care and into clinical trials that use VEGF-targeted agents.
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            Phase III trial of bevacizumab plus interferon alfa versus interferon alfa monotherapy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma: final results of CALGB 90206.

            Bevacizumab is an antibody that binds vascular endothelial growth factor and has activity in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Interferon alfa (IFN-alpha) is the historic standard initial treatment for RCC. A prospective, randomized, phase III trial of bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha versus IFN-alpha monotherapy was conducted. Patients with previously untreated, metastatic clear cell RCC were randomly assigned to receive either bevacizumab (10 mg/kg intravenously every 2 weeks) plus IFN-alpha (9 million units subcutaneously three times weekly) or the same dose and schedule of IFN-alpha monotherapy in a multicenter phase III trial. The primary end point was overall survival (OS). Secondary end points were progression-free survival (PFS), objective response rate, and safety. Seven hundred thirty-two patients were enrolled. The median OS time was 18.3 months (95% CI, 16.5 to 22.5 months) for bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha and 17.4 months (95% CI, 14.4 to 20.0 months) for IFN-alpha monotherapy (unstratified log-rank P = .097). Adjusting on stratification factors, the hazard ratio was 0.86 (95% CI, 0.73 to 1.01; stratified log-rank P = .069) favoring bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha. There was significantly more grade 3 to 4 hypertension (HTN), anorexia, fatigue, and proteinuria for bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha. Patients who developed HTN on bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha had a significantly improved PFS and OS versus patients without HTN. OS favored the bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha arm but did not meet the predefined criteria for significance. HTN may be a biomarker of outcome with bevacizumab plus IFN-alpha.
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              Axitinib in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with advanced renal cell cancer: a non-randomised, open-label, dose-finding, and dose-expansion phase 1b trial

              Previous studies combining PD-1 checkpoint inhibitors with tyrosine kinase inhibitors of the VEGF pathway have been characterised by excess toxicity, precluding further development. We hypothesised that axitinib, a more selective VEGF inhibitor than others previously tested, could be combined safely with pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1) and yield antitumour activity in patients with treatment-naive advanced renal cell carcinoma.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                February 16 2019
                February 16 2019
                Affiliations
                [1 ]From the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland (B.I.R.); Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia (E.R.P.); Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy of Ministry of Health of Ukraine (V.S.) and Dnipropetrovsk Medical Academy (I.B.), Dnipro, Sumy State University, Sumy Regional Oncology Center, Sumy (I.V.), and Ivano-Frankivsk National Medical University, Ivano-Frankivsk (A.K.) — all in Ukraine; the Russian Scientific Center of Roentgen Radiology (R.G.), Central Clinical Hospital with Outpatient Clinic ...
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1816714
                30779529
                © 2019
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