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Checkpoint Inhibitors, Immunotherapy, Nivolumab, Renal Cell Carcinoma, Targeted Therapy
Targeted agents form the backbone of most therapeutic strategies in advanced renal cell carcinoma (aRCC) but ultimately resistance develops, and toxicity often leads to discontinuation of treatment, limiting the clinical benefits of these treatments. Nivolumab, a fully human IgG4 anti-PD-1 antibody, selectively blocks the interaction between PD-1 and its ligands PD-L1 and PD-L2 and provides a novel therapy option for patients with aRCC. In 2015, the pivotal phase III study CheckMate 025 led to the Food and Drug Administration approval of nivolumab in patients with aRCC who had received prior anti-angiogenic therapy, and in 2017, the phase III study CheckMate 214 showed that combined immunotherapy with nivolumab plus ipilimumab resulted in greater objective response rate and prolonged progression-free survival when compared with sunitinib in intermediate- and poor-risk patients with previously untreated aRCC. Early studies of nivolumab in association with anti-angiogenic therapy have generated enthusiasm and multiple combination trials are ongoing.