Avelumab Plus Axitinib Versus Sunitinib for Advanced Renal-Cell Carcinoma

N Engl J Med. 2019 Mar 21;380(12):1103-1115. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1816047. Epub 2019 Feb 16.

Abstract

Background: In a single-group, phase 1b trial, avelumab plus axitinib resulted in objective responses in patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma. This phase 3 trial involving previously untreated patients with advanced renal-cell carcinoma compared avelumab plus axitinib with the standard-of-care sunitinib.

Methods: We randomly assigned patients in a 1:1 ratio to receive avelumab (10 mg per kilogram of body weight) intravenously every 2 weeks plus axitinib (5 mg) orally twice daily or sunitinib (50 mg) orally once daily for 4 weeks (6-week cycle). The two independent primary end points were progression-free survival and overall survival among patients with programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1)-positive tumors. A key secondary end point was progression-free survival in the overall population; other end points included objective response and safety.

Results: A total of 886 patients were assigned to receive avelumab plus axitinib (442 patients) or sunitinib (444 patients). Among the 560 patients with PD-L1-positive tumors (63.2%), the median progression-free survival was 13.8 months with avelumab plus axitinib, as compared with 7.2 months with sunitinib (hazard ratio for disease progression or death, 0.61; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.79; P<0.001); in the overall population, the median progression-free survival was 13.8 months, as compared with 8.4 months (hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.84; P<0.001). Among the patients with PD-L1-positive tumors, the objective response rate was 55.2% with avelumab plus axitinib and 25.5% with sunitinib; at a median follow-up for overall survival of 11.6 months and 10.7 months in the two groups, 37 patients and 44 patients had died, respectively. Adverse events during treatment occurred in 99.5% of patients in the avelumab-plus-axitinib group and in 99.3% of patients in the sunitinib group; these events were grade 3 or higher in 71.2% and 71.5% of the patients in the respective groups.

Conclusions: Progression-free survival was significantly longer with avelumab plus axitinib than with sunitinib among patients who received these agents as first-line treatment for advanced renal-cell carcinoma. (Funded by Pfizer and Merck [Darmstadt, Germany]; JAVELIN Renal 101 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02684006.).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Intravenous
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Axitinib / administration & dosage*
  • Axitinib / adverse effects
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / mortality
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sunitinib / adverse effects
  • Sunitinib / therapeutic use*
  • Survival Rate

Substances

  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • PDCD1 protein, human
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • Axitinib
  • avelumab
  • Sunitinib

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02684006