In this phase 1b/2 study the researchers looked at a combination of tivozanib and nivolumab in 25 patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Tivozanib is a targeted therapy called a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) that blocks the growth of blood vessels to the tumour, while nivolumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that boosts the immune system to attack the tumour.
In this study, the response rate was 56%, and 4% of patients had a complete response. An additional 40% of patients had stable disease. The safety of the combination was similar to that reported for other TKIs and there were 52% of patients with severe or life-threatening high blood pressure (hypertension) and 44% of patients had diarrhoea.
In conclusion, the combination of tivozanib and nivolumab has encouraging effectiveness and is reasonably well tolerated. Phase 3 trials are needed to confirm the efficacy in untreated or previously treated metastatic RCC patients.