Ongoing results from the phase 3 CheckMate-9ER clinical trial with nivolumab (an immunotherapy) plus cabozantinib (a VEGF inhibitor) were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting this week. Earlier data from the CheckMate 9ER study showed that the nivolumab plus cabozantinib combination doubled the average time to when the treatment stopped working and the cancer started growing again compared to sunitinib. Nearly twice as many patients responded to the combination.

In this presentation, the decrease in the size of the tumour was compared to the clinical outcomes in people with metastatic kidney cancer who had been treated with nivolumab plus cabozantinib or sunitinib.

Overall, more patients who were treated with the combination had a big decrease in the size of their tumour compared to patients treated with sunitinib. These responses were associated with a longer time to when the cancer started growing again at 12 months compared to sunitinib. However, overall survival times were similar with the combination treatment and sunitinib.

In this study, bigger decreases in the size of the tumour were seen in more patients taking nivolumab plus cabozantinib than in those on sunitinib. Large decreases in the size of the tumour are generally associated with better survival times.

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