by Dr. C.H. Weaver M.D. updated 2/2019
The initial results from the JAVELIN clinical study evaluating Bavencio® (avelumab) in combination with Inlyta® (axitinib), compared to Sutent® (sunitinib) as initial therapy for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have been released and the study shows a statistically significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) for all patients treated with the combination and specifically for individuals who are programmed death ligand-1‒positive (PD-L1+).(1) The full results of the clinical trial will be updated at a major medical meeting in the near future.
About Renal Cell Carcinoma
Each year in the United States, more than 61,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which starts in the lining of very small tubes (tubules) in the kidney. For people with advanced or metastatic RCC (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body), targeted therapies can play an important role in treatment. Approximately 20% to 30% of patients with RCC will have metastases at diagnosis and as many as 40% will demonstrate metastasis after treatment for earlier stage RCC. With a 5-year survival rate ranging from 5-10% for patients with advanced RCC, the overall prognosis for these patients is poor.(2,3,4)
Bavencio targets the programmed cell death-ligand PD-1/PD-L1 pathway with potential immune checkpoint inhibitory and anti-cancer activity. When Bavencio binds to PD-L1 it blocks the interaction of PD-L1 with its receptor protein 1 (PD-1). This inhibits the activation of PD-1 and restores immune function through the activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes targeted to PD-L1-overexpressing cancer cells.
Inlyta is an oral targeted drug known as a small-molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor. It works by blocking certain proteins that play a role in cancer growth. In the US, Inlyta is approved for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after failure of one prior systemic therapy.
This is the first study that combined two precision cancer medicines: the combination of an immune checkpoint inhibitor with a TKI for patients with advanced RCC may represent a new approach for the treatment of this disease.
- National Cancer Institute: SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Kidney and renal pelvis. Available from: . Accessed July 2018.
- Ljungberg B, Campbell S and Cho H. The Epidemiology of Renal Cell Carcinoma. Eur Urol. 2011;60:615-621.
- American Cancer Society. What is kidney cancer? Available from: . Accessed July 2018.
- Escudier B, Porta C, Schmidinger M et al Renal cell carcinoma: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Annal Oncol. 2014; 25(Suppl3):iii49-iii56.
- World Cancer Research Fund International: Kidney cancer statistics. Available from: . Accessed July 2018.