Biomarkers enable doctors predict which patients will respond to which drugs, and have an important role in many cancers. However, a good biomarker has not yet been found for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The fundamental issue in the biology of metastatic RCC is that a suitable genetic mutation that ‘drives’ the development of RCC has not yet been discovered.

There have been many attempts to develop an immunotherapy biomarker for RCC, but, unfortunately, there have been many challenges, including tumour heterogeneity between patients and within individual tumours, availability of biopsy samples, and variability in testing.

Two papers presented during the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Scientific Program last weekend summarise the work done to determine immunotherapy biomarkers for advanced RCC.

Both papers conclude that immunotherapy biomarkers in advanced RCC have not been shown to be clinically useful and further research is needed to identify the genetic mutations involved in RCC tumours.

Read the first paper about biomarkers and combination checkpoint inhibitors in UroToday here

Read the second paper about biomarker analysis from CheckMate-214 in UroToday here