Bradley G. Somer, MD, associate professor of hematology/oncology, head of strategic expansion/development, University of Tennessee West Cancer Center, discusses the potential for immunotherapy combinations in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC).
In the CheckMate-214 study, the combination of nivolumab (Opdivo) and ipilimumab (Yervoy) showed a clear survival advantage over the frontline standard-of-care sunitinib (Sutent) in patients with previously untreated mRCC. With the proof of concept for immunotherapy in this setting, researchers are interested in exploring further combinations.
The field is likely heading in the direction of combining checkpoint inhibitors with VEGF tyrosine kinase inhibitors or additional immunotherapy options that provide synergy. Somer says the idea is that the mechanisms of action of these agents when used in combination will be more effective than their use as single agents. The short-term hope is that this will lead to deeper and durable responses, but the long-term goal is to cure more patients with mRCC, Somer concludes.