Trending Clinical Topics for February 2019

Ryan Syrek


March 01, 2019

Each week, we identify one top search term, speculate as to what caused its popularity, and provide an infographic on a related condition. If you have thoughts about what's trending and why, feel free to share them with us on Twitter or Facebook!

Trending Clinical Topic of the Week (February 23 – March 1): Renal Cell Carcinoma

A potential new standard of care for the most common type of kidney cancer in adults made renal cell carcinoma this week's top trending clinical topic. New findings suggest that first-line therapy with a combination of a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) and an immune checkpoint inhibitor improved outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) when compared with the current standard of care. The combination of pembrolizumab and axitinib increased both overall and progression-free survival in patients with previously untreated mRCC, compared with similar patients who were treated with sunitinib. In fact, the risk for death was cut nearly in half.

Another combination of this new regimen pairs the immunotherapy avelumab with axitinib. A recent trial found that patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who received that combination demonstrated significantly extended progression-free survival compared with those treated with sunitinib (89.9% vs 78.3%). Because of these results, researchers are suggesting that this combination of a TKI and an immune checkpoint inhibitor may well represent the new standard of care and is likely to be incorporated into guidelines in the near future.

Pembrolizumab has also shown promising activity in patients with non–clear cell renal cell carcinoma (nccRCC). Monotherapy with the drug resulted in a 25% overall response rate while maintaining the expected safety profile. Because most renal cell carcinomas are clear cell in origin, studies often exclude patients with nccRCC. Thus, the potential of a safe and effective therapy for these patients is being met with much optimism. As treatment options for patients with renal cell carcinomas continue to evolve, the topic is likely to remain among the more popular subjects.

Read more information on renal cell carcinoma.


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