Previously, researchers found some genes that helped identify which patients would be sensitive to sunitinib. In this study, they looked for genes that might predict the effectiveness and tolerability of nivolumab, nivolumab-ipilimumab, and nivolumab plus a vascular endothelial growth factor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (VEGFR-TKIs) in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

The researchers identified genes called ccrcc1, ccrcc2, ccrcc3, and ccrcc4 and used them as biomarkers for the survival of patients being treated with nivolumab, nivolumab-ipilimumab, pazopanib or sunitinib. The patients were follow-up for an average of 18 months. Patients with the ccrcc2 gene seemed to have the best response to treatment, closely followed by those patients with the ccrcc4 gene.

The most common serious or life-threatening side effects were liver failure, problems with the liver with the immunotherapy treatments and high blood pressure with a VEGF-TKI.

This study showed that genes can be used to choose the most effective treatment between nivolumab with or without ipilimumab and a VEGFR-TKI in the first-line treatment of metastatic clear-cell RCC.