Immune checkpoint inhibitors have changed the way renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is treated and may improve quality of life. During a presentation at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Virtual Congress 2020 last week the results from a large analysis of the use of immune checkpoint inhibitors in different cancers was presented. The study showed that quality of life is improved with only certain drugs and only in certain types of cancer.
The researchers looked at 26 studies including 3,588 patients that investigated the effect of the immune checkpoint inhibitors nivolumab, pembrolizumab, ipilimumab, atezolizumab, durvalumab, and avelumab on quality of life. The types of cancer that were looked at were melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), urothelial cancer, RCC, liver carcinoma, head and neck cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, and Hodgkin lymphoma.
They looked at change in quality of life in patients treated with these drug from before treatment to about 12-24 weeks later. There was no change in quality of life overall with the use of checkpoint inhibitors.
“Immune checkpoint inhibitors are generally well tolerated,” said Dr. Gonzalez, the chief investigator. “Overall, there really are no changes [in quality of life] over time. However, there are subgroups for which there are improvements, like patients receiving durvalumab, and there are subgroups in which there is deterioration [in quality of life], such as patients being treated with ipilimumab or for melanoma. Overall, there is better quality of life at follow-up for immune checkpoint inhibitor recipients than patients in comparator groups. We see greater benefits among patients treated with nivolumab or pembrolizumab and a greater benefit among head & neck cancer and renal cell cancer patients. We are hopeful that these data may help clinicians summarise the impact on quality of life of checkpoint inhibitors.”
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