Opdivo (nivolumab) a novel “checkpoint” inhibitor immunotherapy has been demonstrated to produce superior three year survival benefit for patients with previously treated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC).1 Treatment options for RCC continue to expand and are associated with improved outcomes.
About Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinoma accounts for more than 100,000 deaths worldwide each year. Clear-cell RCC is the most prevalent type of RCC and constitutes 80% to 90% of all patients. RCC is approximately twice as common in men as in women, with the highest rates of the disease in North America and Europe. Globally, the five-year survival rate for those diagnosed with metastatic, or advanced, kidney cancer is 12%.
Opdivo is a programmed death-1 (PD-1) immune checkpoint inhibitor that is designed to uniquely harness the body’s own immune system to help restore anti-tumor immune response. By harnessing the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, Opdivo has become an important treatment option across multiple cancers.
Checkpoint inhibitors are one kind of immunotherapy that has clearly improved the treatment of cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors are a novel precision cancer immunotherapy that helps to restore the body’s immune system in fighting cancer by releasing checkpoints that cancer uses to shut down the immune system. PD-1 and PD-L1 are proteins that inhibit certain types of immune responses, allowing cancer cells to evade detection and attack by certain immune cells in the body. A checkpoint inhibitor can block the PD-1 and PD-L1 pathway and enhance the ability of the immune system to fight cancer. By blocking the binding of the PD-L1 ligand these drugs restore an immune cells’ ability to recognize and fight the lung cancer cells.
Checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of cancer
- Keytruda® (pembrolizumab)
- Opdivo (nivolumab)
- Imfinzi (durvalumab)
- Tecentriq® (atezolizumab)
The CheckMate -025 study, directly compared patients treated with Opdivo or everolimus in previously treated advanced RCC. Now with long term follow it the average survival for Opdivo has been demonstrated to be superior. Average survival of opdivo treated patients was 25.8 months compared to only 19.7 months with Afinitor® (everolimus), a standard treatment for advanced RCC.2 Overall approximately 25% more patients survived 3 years and the safety profile of Opdivo was consistent with that of previous reports. Anti PD-1 therapy continues to be demonstrated to improve patient outcomes for a variety of cancers and trials are underway to determine if combination with other precision cancer medicines can further improve outcomes and if early use in a patients disease course is warranted.