An ongoing phase 2 study of a combination of two new medicines, camrelizumab (an immune checkpoint inhibitor) and famitinib (a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor that targets a number of kinases) is looking at the safety and effectiveness of this combination in people with advanced or metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Previously treated people were allowed in the study as long as they hadn’t been treated with another immune checkpoint inhibitor or famitinib. The researchers were mainly looking at how patients responded to treatment.

Thirty eight (38) patients were included in the study, most of whom, had intermediate or poor risk cancer (57.9%). About a third of patients had not been treated with medicines before. The average time patients spent on treatment was 16.5 months and 60.5% of patients responded to treatment with shrinkage of their cancer, and 28.9% had stable disease. The disease control rate was nearly 90%. The average time to when the medicines stopped working and the cancer started growing again (progression-free survival) was 14.6 months, and 92.1% of patients survived at least 1 year.

In the patients who were untreated at the start of the study, the results were even better, with a response to treatment with camrelizumab plus famitinib of 84.6%. In the patients who had been previously treated, camrelizumab plus famitinib as second- or later-line therapy produced a response in 48% of patients.

The most common serious or life-threatening side effects were protein in the urine, high blood pressure, decrease white blood cell count, hand-foot syndrome and high levels of fat in the blood. No new side effects were reported.

This study shows promising responses to treatment with the camrelizumab plus famitinib combination in people with advanced or metastatic RCC, especially in patients with intermediate- or poor-risk disease. Response rates were long-lasting and side effects were manageable. These interesting results warrant further investigation of this combination in advanced RCC patients.

Read more in Clinical Cancer Research here