Dr. Harrison on the Possibility of Nivolumab Plus Ipilimumab Becoming the New IL-2

Michael R. Harrison, MD

Michael R. Harrison, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Duke Cancer Institute, discusses the possibility of nivolumab (Opdivo) plus ipilimumab (Yervoy) becoming the new interleukin-2 (IL-2).

The phase III CheckMate-214 trial examined how nivolumab combined with ipilimumab compared with sunitinib (Sutent) for intermediate- and poor- risk population patients with untreated advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

Prior to the study, oncologists thought nivolumab plus ipilimumab would become the new high dose IL-2. The study results indicated that the favorable-risk subgroup, about 250 to 300 patients, had a better response rate and progression-free survival rate with sunitinib compared with nivolumab plus ipilimumab. However, there were opposite results for the intermediate- and poor-risk cohort.

There are not enough data currently to explain these results, says Harrison. Consequently, oncologists will likely continue to defer systematic therapy, sunitinib, or high dose IL-2 for the favorable-risk patient population.
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