Renal medullary carcinoma is one of the rarest malignancies arising from the kidney. Despite various aggressive therapeutic regimens, mortality remains significantly high (95%) with a median overall survival of 5 months. Furthermore, the scarcity of this malignancy renders randomized clinical trials impossible. We examined the expression of programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) in two new renal medullary carcinoma cases, investigated their responses to the PD-L1 inhibitor nivolumab and explored the predictive role of the rate of PD-L1 expression in such response.
Two African-American patients (male and female) with sickle cell trait who presented to our center with hematuria and flank pain were diagnosed with metastatic renal medullary carcinoma. PD-L1 was expressed at rate of 25% and 60% in patient 1 and 2 respectively. Following nephrectomy, they were started on nivolumab. Patient 1 initially responded to the treatment with regression of metastatic lesions. However, following this early response, patient 1 who has been receiving nivolumab for more than 15 months, was noted to have a disease progression. Patient 2 had disease progression after 3 months of nivolumab therapy.
Although PD-L1 is expressed in these patients with renal medullary carcinoma, response to nivolumab was only observed in patient 1 whose tumor has the lowest rate of PD-L1 expression. This may suggest that in RMC, response to PD-L1 inhibition therapy may not correlate with the rate of PD-L1 expression.
Journal for immunotherapy of cancer. 2017 Aug 15*** epublish ***
Quaovi Sodji, Kandy Klein, Kavuri Sravan, Jigarkumar Parikh
Department of Medicine, Augusta University, 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA, 30912, USA., Department of Radiology, Augusta University, 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA, 30912, USA., Department of Pathology, Augusta University, 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA, 30912, USA., Department of Medicine, Augusta University, 1120 15th St, Augusta, GA, 30912, USA. .