Safety and efficacy of nivolumab plus ipilimumab in patients with advanced non-clear cell renal cell carcinoma: results from the phase 3b/4 CheckMate 920 trial

J Immunother Cancer. 2022 Feb;10(2):e003844. doi: 10.1136/jitc-2021-003844.


Background: CheckMate 920 (NCT02982954) is a multicohort, phase 3b/4 clinical trial of nivolumab plus ipilimumab treatment in predominantly US community-based patients with previously untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and clinical features mostly excluded from phase 3 trials. We report safety and efficacy results from the advanced non-clear cell RCC (nccRCC) cohort of CheckMate 920.

Methods: Patients with previously untreated advanced/metastatic nccRCC, Karnofsky performance status ≥70%, and any International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium risk received up to four doses of nivolumab 3 mg/kg plus ipilimumab 1 mg/kg every 3 weeks followed by nivolumab 480 mg every 4 weeks for ≤2 years or until disease progression/unacceptable toxicity. The primary endpoint was incidence of grade ≥3 immune-mediated adverse events (AEs) within 100 days of last dose of study drug. Key secondary endpoints included objective response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS; both investigator-assessed), time to response (TTR), and duration of response (DOR), all using RECIST V.1.1. Overall survival (OS) was exploratory.

Results: Fifty-two patients with nccRCC (unclassified histology, 42.3%; papillary, 34.6%; chromophobe, 13.5%; translocation-associated, 3.8%; collecting duct, 3.8%; renal medullary, 1.9%) received treatment. With 24.1 months minimum study follow-up, median duration of therapy (range) was 3.5 (0.0-25.8) months for nivolumab and 2.1 (0.0-3.9) months for ipilimumab. Median (range) number of doses received was 4.5 (1-28) for nivolumab and 4.0 (1-4) for ipilimumab. Grade 3-4 immune-mediated AEs were diarrhea/colitis (7.7%), rash (5.8%), nephritis and renal dysfunction (3.8%), hepatitis (1.9%), adrenal insufficiency (1.9%), and hypophysitis (1.9%). No grade 5 immune-mediated AEs occurred. ORR (n=46) was 19.6% (95% CI 9.4 to 33.9). Two patients achieved complete response (papillary, n=1; unclassified, n=1), seven achieved partial response (papillary, n=4; unclassified, n=3), and 17 had stable disease. Median TTR was 2.8 (range 2.1-14.8) months. Median DOR was not reached (range 0.0+-27.8+); eight of nine responders remain without reported progression. Median PFS (n=52) was 3.7 (95% CI 2.7 to 4.6) months. Median OS (n=52) was 21.2 (95% CI 16.6 to not estimable) months.

Conclusions: Nivolumab plus ipilimumab for previously untreated advanced nccRCC showed no new safety signals and encouraging antitumor activity.

Trial registration number: NCT02982954.

Keywords: combination; drug therapy; immunotherapy; kidney neoplasms; urologic neoplasms.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ipilimumab / pharmacology
  • Ipilimumab / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nivolumab / pharmacology
  • Nivolumab / therapeutic use*
  • Young Adult


  • Ipilimumab
  • Nivolumab

Associated data