BIONIKK: A phase 2 biomarker driven trial with nivolumab and ipilimumab or VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) in naïve metastatic kidney cancer

Bull Cancer. 2020 Jun;107(5S):eS22-eS27. doi: 10.1016/S0007-4551(20)30283-6.


Background: The nivolumab-ipilimumab combination provides an overall response rate of 42% in first-line metastatic treatment of clear cell renal carcinoma (mccRCC). To date, there is no robust predictive biomarker of response to immune checkpoint inhibitor (ICI). In addition, severe autoimmune disorders occur more frequently with ICI combination than with ICI alone. The objective of this study is to compare the efficacy of ICI alone or in combination in patients according to tumor molecular characteristics.

Methods: Using a 35-gene expression mRNA signature, patients were divided into 4 molecular groups (1 to 4). Patients in groups 1 and 4 were randomized to receive nivolumab alone (arms 1A and 4A) or nivolumab plus ipilimumab for 4 injections followed by nivolumab alone (arms 1B and 4B). Patients in groups 2 and 3 were randomized to receive nivolumab plus ipilimumab followed by nivolumab alone (arms 2B and 3B) or a tyrosine kinase inhibitor (sunitinib or pazopanib at the investigator's choice (arms 2C and 3C)). The main objective is the overall response rate by treatment and molecular group.

Discussion: BIONIKK is the first trial in mccRCC to study the personalization of treatment with ICI or TKI according to tumor molecular characteristics in mccRCC. This trial is the most appropriate to prospectively identify biomarkers of response to nivolumab used alone or in combination or TKI monotherapy in patients with mccRCC. NCT02960906.

Keywords: Biomarqueur; Carcinome rénal; Immune checkpoint; Immunotherapy; Immunothérapie; Inhibiteur; Inhibiteur de point; Programmed cell; Renal cell carcinoma; Tyrosine kinase; de contrôle; de tyrosine kinase; death 1; death 1 receptor; immunitaire; inhibition; inhibitor, biomarkers; à cellules claires.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial Protocol

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Clinical Trials, Phase II as Topic / methods*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Indazoles
  • Ipilimumab / administration & dosage*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Nivolumab / administration & dosage*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sulfonamides / administration & dosage*
  • Sunitinib / administration & dosage*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Indazoles
  • Ipilimumab
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Sulfonamides
  • Nivolumab
  • pazopanib
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor
  • Sunitinib

Associated data