When ipilimumab plus nivolumab or axitinib plus pembrolizumab are used for untreated kidney cancer patients whose cancer has spread (metastatic), their overall survival time is similar. This information has come from real-world data published in The Oncologist.
Although the study showed similar overall survival times between the 2 combination treatments, axitinib-pembrolizumab stopped the cancer from growing or coming back for a longer period of time (progression-free survival 10.6 months) than ipilimumab plus nivolumab (6.9 months). In addition, survival varied according to the risk of the disease.
The study included data from 1506 patients with metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC) held on a database. 547 patients were treated with axitinib-pembrolizumab and 959 with ipilimumab-nivolumab. More than three quarters of the patients in each treatment group had moderate to poor risk disease (77.1% and 85.2%, respectfully). Patients were followed for an average of 20 months.
The overall survival time was not different between the two treatments (24.3 months for ipilimumab-nivolumab and 28.9 months for axitinib-pembrolizumab). At 24 months, overall survival was 50.2% and 53.8%, respectively. However, for patients with favourable-risk kidney cancer, axitinib-pembrolizumab improved survival compared to ipilimumab plus nivolumab.