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In a phase 2 clinical trial, patients with metastatic papillary kidney cancer were treated with a combination of savolitinib (a MET inhibitor) and durvalumab (a PD-L1 immunotherapy). Forty-one patients were recruited into the study. Overall, 29% of patients responded to treatment and their cancer either got smaller or stabilised. However, in patients with the MET gene, more than half of these patients responded to treatment (53%) and survival times were longer.
In patients with the MET gene, the average time to when the treatment stopped working and the cancer started growing again was a year, compared to nearly 5 months for the overall study population. Also, average overall survival time was over 2 years for the patients with the MET gene (27.4 months) compared to just over 1 year for the overall study population (14.1 months).
A large randomised phase s clinical trial (SAMETA) is looking at savolitinib and durvalumab treatment in kidney cancer patients with the MET gene.