Safety and efficacy of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma with brain metastases: CheckMate 920

Cancer. 2022 Mar 1;128(5):966-974. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34016. Epub 2021 Nov 16.


Background: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab (NIVO + IPI) has demonstrated long-term efficacy and safety in patients with previously untreated, advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC). Although most phase 3 clinical trials exclude patients with brain metastases, the ongoing, multicohort phase 3b/4 CheckMate 920 trial ( identifier NCT02982954) evaluated the safety and efficacy of NIVO + IPI in a cohort that included patients with aRCC and brain metastases, as reported here.

Methods: Patients with previously untreated aRCC and asymptomatic brain metastases received NIVO 3 mg/kg plus IPI 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks × 4 followed by NIVO 480 mg every 4 weeks. The primary end point was the incidence of grade ≥3 immune-mediated adverse events (imAEs) within 100 days of the last dose of study drug. Key secondary end points were progression-free survival and the objective response rate according to Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, version 1.1 (both determined by the investigator). Exploratory end points included overall survival, among others.

Results: After a minimum follow-up of 24.5 months (N = 28), no grade 5 imAEs occurred. The most common grade 3 and 4 imAEs were diarrhea/colitis (n = 2; 7%) and hypophysitis, rash, hepatitis, and diabetes mellitus (n = 1 each; 4%). The objective response rate was 32% (95% CI, 14.9%-53.5%) with a median duration of response of 24.0 months; 4 of 8 responders remained without reported progression. Seven patients (25%) had intracranial progression. The median progression-free survival was 9.0 months (95% CI, 2.9-12.0 months), and the median overall survival was not reached (95% CI, 14.1 months to not estimable).

Conclusions: In patients who had previously untreated aRCC and brain metastases-a population with a high unmet medical need that often is underrepresented in clinical trials-the approved regimen of NIVO + IPI followed by NIVO showed encouraging antitumor activity and no new safety signals.

Keywords: aRCC; brain metastases; intracranial; ipilimumab; nivolumab; renal cell carcinoma; unmet need.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Clinical Trial, Phase IV
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / adverse effects
  • Brain Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Brain Neoplasms* / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / pathology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Ipilimumab / adverse effects
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / drug therapy
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Nivolumab / adverse effects


  • Ipilimumab
  • Nivolumab