July 26 (UPI) -- Researchers report they have identified a new drug combination is more effective and better tolerated in the treatment of metastatic renal cell cancer than either drug on its own.
Renal cell carcinoma accounts for 2.4 percent of the total cancer cases throughout the world and 338,000 new cases diagnosed each year.
There is a high mortality rate associated with renal cell carcinoma and current treatment options are limited in their effectiveness and can have toxic side effects.
The study, published in the July edition of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed that the drug nivolumab combined with ipilimumab demonstrated manageable safety, antitumor activity and durable responses with potential long-term overall survival in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer, or mRCC.
"New immunotherapies are showing great promise and novel combinations of these produce more effective treatments than the two used separately," Dr. Lionel Lewis, of the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, said in a press release. "In this study our results show the combination to be highly effective with durable tumor effects that turn into a longer life for patients with kidney cancer that has spread."
The immune checkpoint inhibitors nivolumab and ipilimumab used in combination have shown better responses in patients with metastatic melanoma and lung cancer compared with either drug alone.
Researchers tested the drugs in combination on patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and found the treatment was safe and provided enhanced antitumor activity compared to monotherapy.