At the American Society of  Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO) last week, updated results from the phase 3 clinical trial, CheckMate-9ER, with a combination of cabozantinib (a VEGFR TKI tablet) plus nivolumab (an immunotherapy infusion) were presented.

After more than four years of follow-up, the combination of cabozantinib plus nivolumab continues to improve survival, control the cancer, and shrink the cancer on scans compared with sunitinib.

The average time that patients spent on study treatment was nearly two years for the combination treatment and just over one year for sunitinib. Patients treated with the combination had an average treatment-free survival of seven months compared to four and a half months for those on sunitinib, a difference of two and a half months. The average overall survival time was nearly 3 years for the combination, compared to two and a half years for sunitinib.

After four years follow-up, patients continued to benefit from the cabozantinib plus nivolumab combination. Average treatment-free survival was longer for the patients treated with cabozantinib plus nivolumab compared to sunitinib. Treatment-free survival was seen more often after patients stopped treatment due to side effects or drug toxicity. Future studies will look at the impact of having a defined treatment duration for patients. Important aspects of patient survival time (such as general health and performance of the patient, risk of disease progression, and PD-L1 expression) can be considered when making first-line treatment decisions for patients.

Read more in the American Journal of Managed Care here