The discovery of a reliable biomarker for how patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) will respond to treatment has been very difficult to find. In this study, baseline samples from RCC tumours from patients in the phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 trial were analysed.
The study showed that neither the presences of a biomarker called PD-L1 nor mutations found in the genes in RCC tumours could determine how long a patient would survive without their disease getting worse (progression-free survival) in patients treated with avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib. New genes to do with immunotherapy and the growth of new blood vessels were found to be associated with progression-free survival.
These results increase the knowledge regarding the blocking the PD-1/PD-L1 (immunotherapy) and angiogenic (VEGF TKI) pathway, and impact on decisions for selecting patients for VEGF-TKI/immunotherapy combinations and should be used to in the design of future clinical trials.