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With new data emerging from the virtual meeting, we now have even more ammunition to support selected approaches such as combination therapies with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) and TKIs, efforts to address upstream targets with novel agents in VHL-associated clear cell RCC, strategies to mitigate disease progression following ICI therapy, and more reason to cheer efforts exploring the prognostic significance of  such factors as angiogenic and myeloid expression profiles. With regard to the latter, there is new substantial evidence supporting the prognostic potential of biomarkers in certain settings.

     ASCO has always provided a much needed update to the ongoing major clinical trials, and analyses of these studies are now available through a number of websites as well as the coverage in this issue of the Kidney Cancer Journal. As we gauge the impact of data from these trials, we suggest that you track the new information from KEYNOTE 426 and KEYNOTE 427, the OMNIVORE study, JAVELIN Renal 101 and PROTECT, to name just a few. For example, if you were looking for confirmatory evidence underlying the rationale for using pembrolizumab and axitinib in the frontline setting, then review the findings from KEYNOTE 426.

     Similarly, in the frontline setting, what are your prognostic criteria when another combination, avelumab and axitinib, is being considered? If we had a reliable biomarker with prognostic significance, treatment choices could be further clarified. There has been much interest in the neutrophil to lymphocyte ratio in this regard and an abstract from this year’s meeting offers data from a Phase 3 trial to potentially improve clinical decision making.

     Hopefully, by this time in 2021, we can gather again at a “live” event to meet with our colleagues and reminisce about a time when the vast halls of the convention center were eerily empty and silent.


Robert A. Figlin, MD





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