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ASCO 2016: Nivolumab Extends Survival for Patients With Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma Treated Beyond Disease Progression

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Key Points

  • Of the patients who had disease progression on nivolumab, 153 continued treatment beyond progression and 145 did not.
  • Fourteen percent of those who continued treatment experienced a 30% or greater reduction in their tumors.
  • Patients who continued treatment survived 28.1 months, compared with 15 months for those who did not continue therapy.

In a large randomized study, the immunotherapy drug nivolumab (Opdivo), an anti­­–PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) monoclonal antibody, was shown to be a safe and effective therapy for kidney cancer even in patients who continued treatment after their disease progressed. Results of the phase III clinical study conducted by physician-scientists at multiple centers were presented by Escudier et al at the 2016 ASCO Annual Meeting (Abstract 4509).

Study Findings

In this large clinical study (CheckMate 025) conducted in the treatment-refractory setting of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, 406 patients received nivolumab.

Of the patients who had disease progression on nivolumab, 153 continued treatment beyond progression and 145 did not. Patients without progressive disease were excluded from analysis.

Fourteen percent of those who continued treatment experienced a 30% or greater reduction in their tumors. Additionally, patients who continued treatment survived 28.1 months, compared with 15 months for those who did not continue therapy.

“This study demonstrates that patients who continued treatment with nivolumab after their disease progressed may have demonstrated a delayed immune response that ultimately prolonged survival,” said Saby George, MD, FACP, Associate Professor of Oncology in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Cancer Institute and senior author of the study. “These findings indicate that the new immunotherapy checkpoint inhibitor drugs merit further study to establish different clinical guidelines with a goal to optimize patient benefit. It is important to translate such findings into clinical practice guidelines in order to have better outcomes.”

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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