Updated results from the KEYNOTE-426 study of pembrolizumab plus axitinib versus sunitinib as first-line treatment for advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) were presented during the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Scientific Program over the weekend.

The combination of pembrolizumab with axitinib continues to show improved efficacy in the treatment of advanced RCC compared with sunitinib as a first-line treatment.

“The phase 3 trial compared combination axitinib plus pembrolizumab to one of the standards of care, sunitinib, and found people lived longer if they started with the combination treatment,” said the researchers. The combination of pembrolizumab and axitinib shrinks tumours more reliably than sunitinib, and those patients whose tumours shrank the most lived the longest.

More follow-up data from KEYNOTE-426 were presented at the ASCO virtual meeting to determine the survival benefit of the pembrolizumab/axitinib combination. The combination benefitted intermediate- and poor-risk patients the most, the group of patients with the most aggressive cancer.

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