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A small study presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Genitourinary Cancers Symposium in Orlando, USA last week, shows that patients with advanced kidney cancer, who stop PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy prematurely due to adverse events, may be able to remain off additional drug treatment for 6 months or more without disease progression.
Dr Rana McKay, assistant professor of medicine at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said “What we’ve demonstrated is that, despite these patients stopping their treatments, there is a subset who continue to have disease that is in check and controlled, despite not being on any therapy. Those are the durable responders: 42% of patients, when they stopped their treatments because they had some toxic event, were actually able to remain off any other cancer-targeting therapy for over 6 months with their disease being controlled.”
Current standard practice for immune checkpoint therapy, such as nivolumab (Opdivo), is for patients with advanced/metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) to continue taking the drug on a continuous basis until the tumour progresses or they have severe side effects to the drug.