abril 2019

Change in neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) in response to immune checkpoint blockade for metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Lalani A, Xie W, Martini D, et al.
J Immunother Cancer. 2018 Jan 22;6(1):5.
DOI: 10.1186/s40425-018-0315-0

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

An elevated Neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is associated with worse outcomes in several malignancies. However, its role with contemporary immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) is unknown. We investigated the utility of NLR in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) patients treated with PD-1/PD-L1 ICB.

METHODS:

We examined NLR at baseline and 6 (±2) weeks later in 142 patients treated between 2009 and 2017 at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, USA). Landmark analysis at 6 weeks was conducted to explore the prognostic value of relative NLR change on overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and objective response rate (ORR). Cox and logistic regression models allowed for adjustment of line of therapy, number of IMDC risk factors, histology and baseline NLR.

RESULTS:

Median follow up was 16.6 months (range: 0.7-67.8). Median duration on therapy was 5.1 months (<1-61.4). IMDC risk groups were: 18% favorable, 60% intermediate, 23% poor-risk. Forty-four percent were on first-line ICB and 56% on 2nd line or more. Median NLR was 3.9 (1.3-42.4) at baseline and 4.1 (1.1-96.4) at week 6. Patients with a higher baseline NLR showed a trend toward lower ORR, shorter PFS, and shorter OS. Higher NLR at 6 weeks was a significantly stronger predictor of all three outcomes than baseline NLR. Relative NLR change by ≥25% from baseline to 6 weeks after ICB therapy was associated with reduced ORR and an independent prognostic factor for PFS (p < 0.001) and OS (p = 0.004), whereas a decrease in NLR by ≥25% was associated with improved outcomes.

CONCLUSIONS:

Early decline and NLR at 6 weeks are associated with significantly improved outcomes in mRCC patients treated with ICB. The prognostic value of the readily-available NLR warrants larger, prospective validation.

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Pembrolizumab plus Axitinib versus Sunitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma

Rini B, Plimack E, Stus V, et al.
N Engl J Med. 2019 Feb 16.
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1816714

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHODS:

In an open-label, phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned 861 patients with previously untreated advanced clear-cell renal-cell carcinoma to receive pembrolizumab (200 mg) intravenously once every 3 weeks plus axitinib (5 mg) orally twice daily (432 patients) or sunitinib (50 mg) orally once daily for the first 4 weeks of each 6-week cycle (429 patients). The primary end points were overall survival and progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. The key secondary end point was the objective response rate. All reported results are from the protocol-specified first interim analysis.

RESULTS:

After a median follow-up of 12.8 months, the estimated percentage of patients who were alive at 12 months was 89.9% in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 78.3% in the sunitinib group (hazard ratio for death, 0.53; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38 to 0.74; P<0.0001). Median progression-free survival was 15.1 months in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 11.1 months in the sunitinib group (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.57 to 0.84; P<0.001). The objective response rate was 59.3% (95% CI, 54.5 to 63.9) in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and 35.7% (95% CI, 31.1 to 40.4) in the sunitinib group (P<0.001). The benefit of pembrolizumab plus axitinib was observed across the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium risk groups (i.e., favorable, intermediate, and poor risk) and regardless of programmed death ligand 1 expression. Grade 3 or higher adverse events of any cause occurred in 75.8% of patients in the pembrolizumab-axitinib group and in 70.6% in the sunitinib group.

CONCLUSIONS:

Among patients with previously untreated advanced renal-cell carcinoma, treatment with pembrolizumab plus axitinib resulted in significantly longer overall survival and progression-free survival, as well as a higher objective response rate, than treatment with sunitinib. (Funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme; KEYNOTE-426 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02853331.).

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Avelumab plus Axitinib versus Sunitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma

Motzer R, Penkov K, Haanen J, et al.
N Engl J Med. 2019 Feb 16
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1816047

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In a single-group, phase 1b trial, avelumab plus axitinib resulted in objective responses in patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma. This phase 3 trial involving previously untreated patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma compared avelumab plusaxitinib with the standard-of-care sunitinib.

METHODS:

We randomly assigned patients in a 1:1 ratio to receive avelumab (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) intravenously every 2 weeks plus axitinib (5 mg) orally twice daily or sunitinib (50 mg) orally once daily for 4 weeks (6-week cycle). The two independent primary end points were progression-free survival and overall survival among patients with programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumors. A key secondary end point was progression-free survival in the overall population; other end points included objective response and safety.

RESULTS:

A total of 886 patients were assigned to receive avelumab plus axitinib (442 patients) or sunitinib (444 patients). Among the 560 patients with PD-L1-positive tumors (63.2%), the median progression-free survival was 13.8 months with avelumab plus axitinib, as compared with 7.2 months with sunitinib (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.79; P<0.001); in the overall population, the median progression-free survival was 13.8 months, as compared with 8.4 months (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.84; P<0.001). Among the patients with PD-L1-positive tumors, the objective response rate was 55.2% with avelumab plus axitinib and 25.5% with sunitinib; at a median follow-up for overall survival of 11.6 months and 10.7 months in the two groups, 37 patients and 44 patients had died, respectively. Adverse events during treatment occurred in 99.5% of patients in the avelumab-plus-axitinib group and in 99.3% of patients in the sunitinib group; these events were grade 3 or higher in 71.2% and 71.5% of the patients in the respective groups.

CONCLUSIONS:

Progression-free survival was significantly longer with avelumab plus axitinib than with sunitinib among patients who received these agents as first-line treatment for advanced renal-cell carcinoma. (Funded by Pfizer and Merck [Darmstadt, Germany]; JAVELIN Renal 101 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02684006.).

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Combination Therapy as First-Line Treatment in Metastatic Renal-Cell Carcinoma

Escudier B.
N Engl J Med. 2019 Feb 16.
DOI: 10.1056/NEJMe1900887

This article has no abstract; the first 100 words appear below.

The treatment of metastatic renal-cell carcinoma has been revolutionized twice in the past 12 years by data showing that vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibition can induce tumor shrinkage and increase progression-free survival and that immune checkpoint inhibitors can induce durable responses and increase overall survival among patients with this form of cancer. Guidelines for the treatment of metastatic renal-cell carcinoma have changed dramatically to recommend agents that target these two major pathways. In 2007, a trial showed that sunitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent VEGF inhibition, was superior to interferon alfa, and sunitinib became a new standard of…

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