Drug targeting immune system shown to help kidney cancer patients

The other late-breaking presentation in the presidential session will be made by Professor Padmanee Sharma, who will be reporting results from the CheckMate 025 randomised phase III trial of nivolumab versus everolimus in advanced kidney cancer. The median duration of treatment was 5.5 months with nivolumab and 3.7 months with everolimus.


According to the website’s section, “statistics and outlook for kidney cancer”, roughly 70% of people with kidney cancer will survive for a year or more after initial diagnosis.

Although the exact causes of kidney cancer are not exactly known, those who smoke, are exposed to certain chemicals, have weight problems, sufferers of high blood pressure and those with family history of the disease are likely to develop the condition. The findings were also presented Friday at the European Cancer Congress in Vienna.

Drugs, including Opdivo, function by targeting molecules that play a vital role in the immune system’s ability to identify and attack tumors.

Analysts at Morgan Stanley believe Opdivo could be approved for the new use by early 2016 and the U.S. National Comprehensive Cancer Network might endorse its off-label in kidney cancer before the end of 2015. Nivolumab versus everolimus in advanced renal-cell carcinoma [published online September 25, 2015].

According to investigator assessment, the median PFS was 7.4 months with cabozantinib and 5.3 months with everolimus (HR, 0.60; 95% CI, 0.47-0.76; P.001).

“This has resulted in a significant reduction in the rate of disease progression or death in the cabozantinib arm as compared with the everolimus arm”.

“Uniquely, treatment with cabozantinib resulted in a strong trend towards improving overall survival, which is unprecedented as compared with other studies to date evaluating TKIs”.

But only a fraction of patients had what researchers consider an objective response to the treatments-25% for Opdivo and 21% for cabozantinib. The results have set potential new options for people suffering with the disease.

Sharma is scientific director of MD Anderson’s immunotherapy platform, which provides immune monitoring expertise to MD Anderson’s 85 clinical trials of immunotherapy drugs as single agents or in combinations. This examine was supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), the corporate that sells nivolumab as Opdivo. Early overall survival data appear promising as well. It claims that men are more likely to get cancer than women, “Each year, in the United Kingdom around 167,480 men are diagnosed and around 164,000 women.”. Patients given the standard treatment, everolimus, were then treated with novolumab instead for ethical reasons. “This approval is more than just another new treatment, it’s someone’s opportunity to live a longer life”, said Kathy Barnard, Founder of the Save Your Skin Foundation and herself a survivor of metastatic melanoma.

Both drugs are already on the market, approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat other forms of cancer. Cabozantinib is sold as Cometriq and is generally used for the treatment of thyroid cancer. The F.D.A. has given the two medicines “breakthrough designation” for advanced kidney cancer, meaning that it will expedite their review to help patients gain access as soon as possible.


About CheckMate-066 The Phase 3 CheckMate-066 study is a randomized, double-blind study comparing Opdivo (n=210) to the chemotherapy dacarbazine (DTIC) (n=208) in BRAF V600 wild-type patients with treatment-naïve advanced melanoma. The drugs are expensive: a year’s treatment with Opdivo can cost $150,000.

METEOR: Cabozantinib Improves Survival in Advanced Kidney Cancer