The past decade or so has seen the development of multiple targeted therapies for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors and inhibitors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Most recently, immune checkpoint inhibitors have been shown to have excellent clinical efficacy. Although patients are living longer, durable complete responses are rarely seen. Numerous clinical trials are currently exploring the combination of immunotherapy with various targeted therapies to develop treatments with a higher response rate and acceptable toxicity.

This comprehensive review looks at the multiple reported and ongoing clinical trials with a combination of an immune checkpoint inhibitor (PD-1 or PD-L1 inhibitor) and either ipilimumab or a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitor, such as axitinib.

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