FEB 17, 2019 03:17 PM PST

Drug Combination May Become Standard Treatment for Metastatic Kidney Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Reporting from results of a phase 3 clinical trial, patients with metastatic kidney cancer may soon receive a new standard treatment involving a combination of two drugs. The drugs, axitinib plus the immunotherapeutic agent avelumab, were seen to significantly decrease tumor size better that the current treatment involving the drug sunitinib (Sutent), used specifically in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma.

Learn more about kidney cancers:

"Patients receiving the drug combination also had a higher response rate -- meaning their tumors shrank -- than the sunitinib-only group," says Toni K. Choueiri, MD, senior and co-corresponding author of the report and The Jerome and Nancy Kohlberg Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "This is certainly better than sunitinib -- hopefully this will lead to Food and Drug Administration approval soon.”

The drug combination, particularly involving the immunotherapeutic—avelumab, works by not only targeting the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) to disrupt the blood supply to tumors but by also inhibiting and immune checkpoint called PD-L1 which naturally works to exhausts immune T cells—this will ensure the effective attack of cancer cells.

"Interestingly, the analysis showed that all subgroups -- good, intermediate, and poor-risk patient -- benefited from the combination treatment," said Choueiri. This was the topic of an oral presentation Choueiri has just given at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in San Francisco. The results were simultaneously published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Almost all patients in the study experienced some form of side effects—with the most frequent being thyroid disorders in the drug combination group. However, Dr. Choueiri states that for patients with advanced stage of cancer, the drug combination will serve as "an important option. What we're doing in advanced kidney cancers is pushing the envelope -- these treatments may not be curative, but patients are living longer, and the disease is becoming more chronic."

Source: Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

About the Author
  • Nouran enjoys writing on various topics including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
OCT 21, 2019
Medications Used for Atrial fibrillation May Increase Falls
Falls among older adults are a growing health concern that often lead to injury, hospitalization, and other severe complications. Older adults are even at...
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Targets Early Instigators of Alzheimer Disease
The two solidifying instigators of Alzheimer -disease (AD)—amyloid beta and the tau protein—have long been the topic of study for AD researcher...
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
OCT 21, 2019
Scientists Grow Mini Kidneys to Treat Kidney Disease
Current methods for testing potential treatments for kidney disease do not take genetic variation into account for how treatments may vary from patient to ...
OCT 21, 2019
Cannabis Sciences
OCT 21, 2019
CBD Alleviates Angelman Syndrome Seizures in Mice Trial
CBD has already been shown to be effective as an anti-anxiety, antipsychotic and anti-epileptic substance. Can it help youth and adults with a rare neurolo...
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
OCT 21, 2019
New Potential Early Stage Treatment for Parkinson's
Parkinson’s Disease is the second most common neurodegenerative condition, affecting 35 million people globally. Currently without a cure, researcher...
OCT 21, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
OCT 21, 2019
Therapeutic Targets Inflammation Associated with Genetic Heart Disease
Often times when young athletes collapse during the game it is due to sudden cardiac death as a result of the inherited arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM)...
Loading Comments...