Dr. McDermott on the Promise of Pembrolizumab in Non-Clear Cell RCC

David F. McDermott, MD
Published: Wednesday, Jun 05, 2019



David F. McDermott, MD, director of the Biologic Therapy Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discusses the promise of single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of patients with advanced non–clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

In findings from cohort B of the phase II KEYNOTE-427 study presented at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, pembrolizumab appeared to be safe. Only 6% of patients had to stop therapy due to a treatment-related adverse event. This is important because there are currently no FDA-approved therapies specifically for patients with non–clear cell RCC. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend sunitinib (Sutent), but even the VEGF TKI is not indicated for this subgroup.

In fact, McDermott adds, prior immunotherapy trials in RCC have excluded patients with non–clear cell histology. The PD-1 inhibitor yielded a 24.8% response rate in the entire cohort of patients with non-clear cell RCC, giving researchers a reason to continue evaluating the drug’s benefit in this space.
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David F. McDermott, MD, director of the Biologic Therapy Program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, discusses the promise of single-agent pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in the treatment of patients with advanced non–clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

In findings from cohort B of the phase II KEYNOTE-427 study presented at the 2019 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, pembrolizumab appeared to be safe. Only 6% of patients had to stop therapy due to a treatment-related adverse event. This is important because there are currently no FDA-approved therapies specifically for patients with non–clear cell RCC. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines recommend sunitinib (Sutent), but even the VEGF TKI is not indicated for this subgroup.

In fact, McDermott adds, prior immunotherapy trials in RCC have excluded patients with non–clear cell histology. The PD-1 inhibitor yielded a 24.8% response rate in the entire cohort of patients with non-clear cell RCC, giving researchers a reason to continue evaluating the drug’s benefit in this space.

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