GU Cancers 2018 | Combining immunotherapy with VEGF inhibitors to treat kidney cancer

Michael Atkins

Speaking from the 2018 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium, held in San Francisco, CA, Michael Atkins, MD, of Georgetown University, Washington, DC, tells us about the potential benefits of combining immunotherapy drugs with VEGF inhibitors such as axitinib in patients with renal cancer.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

The rationale for combining VEGF inhibitors such as axitinib with immune therapy in kidney cancer goes back a long time where there’s data that suggests that both immunotherapy and blocking angiogenesis through blocking VEGF are effective strategies for treatment of a subset of patients with kidney cancer and data that suggests that blocking veg F may alter or enhance the immune response through a variety of different mechanisms. So there was early clinical trial data that suggested that combining VEGF receptor TKIs with checkpoint inhibitors would produce a good efficacy but the ability to pursue those combinations was precluded based on the toxicity. So we thought that using axitinib which is the most selective of the approved VEGF receptor TKIs in combination with an anti-PD1 would allow that combination to be tolerated at full doses and to allow us to fully test the efficacy of blocking those two checkpoint two pathways simultaneously.

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