Recent studies have suggested that the time of day when an immunotherapy infusion is given might affect the survival of patients with cancer. In this study, the researchers wanted to see if this was the case for patients with metastatic kidney cancer.

Patients with metastatic kidney cancer were treated with nivolumab, either alone or in combination with ipilimumab as a first or second treatment. Patients were assessed in two groups: those who had more than three quarters of their infusions before 4.30 pm (the ‘early’ group), and those who received a quarter or more of their infusions after 4.30 pm (the ‘late’ group). A total of 145 patients with metastatic kidney cancer were included in the study and most patients (75.9%) had high risk disease and were in the early group.

Average overall survival time for all patients in the study was 41.7 months. The response rate to treatment was greater in the early group than the late group (32.7% versus 25%, respectively). The average overall survival time was 46.3 months for the early treatment group compared with 41.7 months for the late treatment group.

These results show there is an increase in response to treatment and overall survival time when immunotherapy is taken earlier in the day. Larger, randomised, and controlled clinical trials are needed to confirm these results.

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