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CheckMate 214: Updated results for RCC focus on PD-L1 expression, QOL


Key clinical point: CheckMate 214 trial subgroup analyses suggest better responses to nivolumab/ipilimumab among renal cell carcinoma patients with PD-L1–positive tumors.

Major finding: Overall response outcomes favored nivo/ipi vs. sunitinib for both PD-L1–positive tumors and PD-L1–negative tumors, but more so for PD-L1–positive tumors (P less than .0001 and P = .252, respectively).

Data source: The 1,096-patient open-label, phase 3 CheckMate 214 trial.

Disclosures: CheckMate 214 was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical.


AT SITC 2017


– The benefits of combined treatment with the immune checkpoint inhibitors nivolumab and ipilimumab (nivo/ipi) vs. the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib as demonstrated in intermediate- to poor-risk renal cell carcinoma patients in the CheckMate 214 trial were observed across baseline programmed death–ligand 1 (PD-L1) expression levels, according to subgroup analyses from the open-label phase 3 trial.

However, those with PD-L1–positive tumors – defined as tumors with PD-L1 expression in 1% or more of cells – had improved outcomes, compared with those with PD-L1–negative tumors. This was true for all three co-primary endpoints of the study: overall response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival, Robert J. Motzer, MD, reported at the annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer.

Dr. Robert J. Motzer memorial sloan kettering, ny Sharon Worcester/Frontline Medical News
Dr. Robert J. Motzer
For example, overall response outcomes as illustrated using a forest plot favored nivolumab (Opdivo) plus Ipilimumab (Yervoy) vs. sunitinib (Sutent) for both PD-L1–positive tumors and PD-L1–negative tumors, but more so for PD-L1–positive tumors (P less than .0001 and .252, respectively), said Dr. Motzer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

“For progression-free survival ... [there was] a strong signal in patients who were PD-L1 expression–positive, but not so in those with PD-L1–negative tumors,” he said (P = .003 and .9670, respectively). “In the overall survival endpoint ... patients benefited with longer survival with nivo/ipi, regardless of PD-L1 expression, but the relative benefit seemed higher in patients expressing PD-L1 (P less than .0001 and .0249, respectively).”

The primary efficacy results of CheckMate 214 were reported in September at the European Society of Medical Oncology. The study enrolled 1,096 patients with treatment-naive advanced or metastatic clear-cell renal cell carcinoma with measurable disease and adequate performance status who were stratified by prognostic score and geographical region and randomly assigned to receive either 3 mg/kg nivolumab and 1 mg/kg ipilimumab every 3 weeks for four doses, then 3 mg/kg nivolumab monotherapy every other week, or 50 mg oral sunitinib once daily for 4 weeks in a 6-week cycle. Treatment continued until patients progressed or experienced unacceptable toxicity.

Most of the patients in the study (847 of 1,096) had intermediate- to poor-risk disease and most of those (about 70%) were PD-L1 negative.

Overall, the study met two of the primary endpoints, demonstrating superior overall survival and overall response rates with nivo/ipi vs. sunitinib in intermediate/poor-risk patients with treatment-naive advanced renal cell carcinoma, Dr. Motzer said.

In addition to presenting the subgroup data regarding outcomes across PD-L1 expression levels at the meeting, he also presented new data showing improved self-reported quality of life among patients treated with nivo/ipi vs. sunitinib. Quality of life was measured using the National Comprehensive Cancer Network/ Functional Assessment Of Cancer Therapy–Kidney Symptom Index 19 questionnaire, which “looks at questions particularly relevant to renal cell carcinoma patients,” he said.

The mean change in questionnaire scores from baseline was consistently better in the nivo/ipi arm. At 104 weeks the mean change was about +5 points with nivo/ipi vs. about –7 points with sunitinib.

“These results support the use of nivo/ipi as a new first-line standard of care option for patients with intermediate/poor-risk advanced [renal cell carcinoma],” he concluded.

CheckMate 214 was funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono Pharmaceutical. Dr. Motzer reported ownership interest in Armo Biosciences.
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