Though significant progress has been made in kidney cancer, there remains a need for therapies that produce long-term and durable remissions, especially for patients with late-stage disease, says Robert Figlin. “There are a lot of drugs, many targets, and still no cures,” says Figlin. “There is still an unmet need, despite the plethora of agents that have been approved in this space.”
Checkpoint inhibitors do show some promise, he says. Several ongoing trials are currently exploring agents for patients with previously untreated metastatic/advanced kidney cancer, including a phase 3 study of Opdivo (nivolumab) in combination with Yervoy (ipilimumab) and a phase 3 trial of atezolizumab in combination with Avastin (bevacizumab).
Time will tell if this approach can provide the groundbreaking advance that is needed in the field of kidney cancer, says Figlin. “We are really waiting to see the long-term benefits of checkpoint inhibitors,” he says. “These are trials that are using standard of care agents like Sutent (sunitinib), for example, in the control arms. If one of them were to be a positive trial, it would be practice-changing.”
CURE: What clinical trials are you excited to see the results of in kidney cancer?
Figlin: There are a series of trials taking place in the frontline setting for the previously untreated kidney cancer population. There is the Merck/Pfizer JAVELIN trial looking at the combination of avelumab and Inlyta. There is also a trial from Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), which looks at Yervoy/Opdivo and is close to accrual. Additionally, there is a Roche trial, which uses their checkpoint inhibitor atezolizumab in combination with Avastin.