Overview of Current and Future First-Line Systemic Therapy for Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

Treatment of metastatic clear cell renal cancer (mccRCC) has seen substantial progress over the last 20 years, with many regulatory approvals since 2006 culminating in a substantial increase to overall survival (OS). Six therapies are currently available for first-line use, with additional treatments currently being tested in this setting, some of which are expected to be approved soon based on new data from the CABOSUN and CheckMate-214 trials. Based on the available evidence, we strongly believe that vascular endothelial growth factor tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGF-TKI) therapy over mechanistic target or rapamycin (mTOR; formerly known as mammalian target of rapamycin) inhibitor therapy is the most effective first-line option regardless of risk category assignment. High-dose interleukin-2 (HDIL-2) therapy remains a reasonable treatment option in patients with Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status 0-1 and have minimal comorbid conditions. In the near future, these agents are likely to be surpassed by cabozantinib and by combination immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy with nivolumab and ipilimumab. Independent review has recently confirmed superiority of first-line cabozantinib over sunitinib in a phase 2 trial of 157 patients with intermediate or poor risk mccRCC (progression-free survival [PFS] 8.6 vs 5.3 months, hazard ratio [HR] 0.48, p = 0.0008). In a separate study of 1096 patients treated with either upfront sunitinib or the combination of nivolumab and ipilimumab, those with intermediate and poor risk had significant improvement in both PFS (11.6 vs 8.4 months, HR 0.82, p = 0.0331) and OS (not reached vs 26 months, p < 0.0001). Responses were greater in patients with positive programmed death receptor ligand-1 (PD-L1) tumor staining, and pending regulatory approval may become standard of care in untreated patients with intermediate to poor risk disease with positive PD-L1 status. This likely represents the beginning of additional novel immunotherapy combinations for the first-line treatment of mccRCC.

Current treatment options in oncology. 2018 Jan 24*** epublish ***

David M Gill, Andrew W Hahn, Peter Hale, Benjamin L Maughan

Department of Oncology, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA., Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, 30 N 1900 E, Room 4C104, Salt Lake City, UT, 84132, USA., Department of Oncology, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT, USA. .