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SITC Publishes First Kidney Cancer Treatment Guideline to Focus on Immunotherapy

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The first evidence-based consensus statement on cancer immunotherapy for the treatment of patients with the most common type of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma, has been published by the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) in the Journal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer by Rini et al. The guideline provides expert recommendations and consensus opinion surrounding the use of interferon-α (IFN-α) and interleukin-2 (IL-2) in renal cell carcinoma. In addition, it includes information on the recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of nivolumab (Opdivo) and summarizes recent progress of biomarker development in renal cell carcinoma.

“Not only does this guidance manuscript provide current consensus opinion on the use of IFN-α and IL-2 in renal cell carcinoma, but it also initiates discussion concerning predictive biomarkers and immune checkpoint inhibition,” said Michael Atkins, MD, of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chair of the SITC Kidney Cancer Task Force. “In doing so, this statement lays the foundation for future updates as more immunotherapy agents become available to treat patients with kidney cancer.”

This consensus statement is the second publication to come out of SITC's Cancer Immunotherapy Guidelines initiative, which was expanded in 2014 to include genitourinary malignancies (kidney, prostate, and bladder cancer), each of which has a dedicated expert Task Force. Within this initiative, the Kidney Cancer Task Force consists of a multidisciplinary group of 20 renal cell carcinoma experts, including academic physicians as well as nurse, patient, and patient advocate representatives.

As a result of this multidisciplinary collaboration, this guidance document covers key aspects of clinical management, including patient selection, toxicity management, clinical endpoints, and sequencing of therapies. In addition, future directions such as ongoing clinical trials and agents in development are also provided. To generate these guidelines, the Task Force followed a rigorous, systematic process based on the 2011 Institute of Medicine's (IOM) Standards for Developing Trustworthy Clinical Practice Guidelines.

“Due to their broad clinical activity, and the rapid progress in cancer immunotherapy research, there are a growing number of cancer immunotherapies available to treat patients with a variety of malignancies,” said Howard L. Kaufman, MD, FACS, Immediate Past President of SITC, who led the original SITC Task Force that developed the guidelines for melanoma.

“In light of this exciting progress, SITC has developed Task Forces to address current knowledge gaps and generate a standard set of guiding recommendations for the clinical oncologist in each specific disease setting. The goal of these guidelines is to supplement current cancer treatment guidelines to provide more specific details on the unique aspects of immunotherapy and how best to manage patients electing treatment with immunotherapy. In particular, these guidelines provide consensus thinking for clinicians where data may be limited or even absent,” he added.

As new FDA approvals or significant findings from clinical trials become available, the SITC Kidney Cancer Task Force will update the consensus statement to reflect recommended practice changes. 

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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