Kidney Cancer Journal – 2017 – Number 3

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Kidney Cancer Journal – 2017 – Number 3

GUEST EDITOR’S MEMO

Connecting More Dots in Kidney Cancer: Updates on Radiation Therapy, Optimal Dosing Schedules for VEGF Blockade

It has always been the aim of the Kidney Cancer Journal to cover the broadest spectrum of topics related to all aspects of managing renal cell carcinoma (RCC). When I was asked to serve as Guest Editor, I knew that this issue of the journal would be no exception. The assortment of articles attests to how our field is rapidly evolving— whether it is new information emerging from the 2017 meeting of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) or updates from our authors on changing standards in clinical practice or new results from the bench with translational impact.

This year’s ESMO scientific sessions presented some pivotal information on key issues with potential translational impact, including the combination of immunotherapy and targeted therapy, and the sequence of sunitinib and nephrectomy. These findings, notably an update on the Checkmate 214 trial and the SURTIME trial, are reviewed in this issue of the Kidney Cancer Journal on Pages 65 and 82, in addition to other results from ESMO.

If you follow the medical literature as closely as I do, you may be surprised at how the latest studies have not only more pointedly addressed long-standing controversies in RCC but go further—approaching a consensus that tends to debunk some of the myths surrounding practice standards. A case in point—our content on the safety and efficacy of stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) for RCC, both primary and metastatic.

In terms of our knowledge about and application of this technique, we are light years away from the 1950s when a Swedish neurosurgeon first described single-dose ablative radiotherapy delivered to brain lesions.
The revolutionary development concerns the way this principle has been extrapolated to the stereotactic delivery of severely hypofractionated treatments to body targets, including kidney, either primary or metastatic, cranial and extracranial. And yet, the myth has lingered that such application in RCC is limited by perceived radioresistance to conventional fractionation. If this is still your perception (a misconception, I might add) then review the article by Raquib Hannan, MD, on how such resistance can be overcome in many clinical settings, thus sparing many patients from nephrectomy, especially those who are poor surgical candidates.

One of the areas that has long been a focus of my research is the optimal dosing schedule for sunitinib and efforts to prolong exposure to the drug while limiting the adverse effects that often stand in the way of continuing with the 4 weeks on and 2 weeks off strategy. So here, too, an intriguing and significant evolution in the standard of care is taking place with regards to the relative merits of the 4/2 dosing schedule vs the 2/1 schedule. The particularly interesting aspect of this evolution is the apparent initiative on the part of many of our colleagues in community practice to stay ahead of the curve or integrate novel approaches that enable them to prolong exposure to sunitinib or at least mitigate the impact of adverse effects through various drug-free interval strategies.

There are skeptics, however, who may ask whether it is appropriate to expend more resources prospectively testing (data we need to verify appropriate dosing schedules) a new schedule of an older targeted agent in lieu of the excitement over the latest generation of immune-oncologics in RCC. There are two reasons for continuing to investigate VEGF blockade in this context. First, not all RCCs respond to immunotherapy, as Lauren C. Harshman, MD reminds us in an Editorial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology (2017;35(16) 1755-1757. This is true of even the modern and more tolerable PD-1 pathway antibodies. Also, VEGF-pathway blockade remains the backbone of many ongoing, first-line PD-1 combination studies. These considerations remain essential in view of the new agents recently approved and the implications for the treatment paradigm. The article in this issue by Pavlos Msaouel, MD, and Nizar Tannir, MD, not only delineates these issues but suggests state-of-the-art thinking on tailoring sunitinib schedules to achieve maximum benefit.

Bernard J. Escudier, MD
Guest Editor

2017-1

INLYTA® (axitinib) is indicated for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after failure of one prior systemic therapy.

Important Safety Information

Hypertension including hypertensive crisis has been observed. Blood pressure should be well controlled prior to initiating INLYTA. Monitor for hypertension and treat as needed. For persistent hypertension, despite use of antihypertensive medications, reduce the dose. Discontinue INLYTA if hypertension is severe and persistent despite use of antihypertensive therapy and dose reduction of INLYTA, and discontinuation should beconsidered if there is evidence of hypertensive crisis.

Arterial and venous thrombotic events have been observed and can be fatal. Use with caution in patients who are at increased risk or who have a history of these events.

Hemorrhagic events, including fatal events, have been reported. INLYTA has not been studied in patients with evidence of untreated brain metastasis or recent active gastrointestinal bleeding and should not be used in those patients. If any bleeding requires medical intervention, temporarily interrupt the INLYTA dose.

Cardiac failure has been observed and can be fatal. Monitor for signs or symptoms of cardiac failure throughout treatment with INLYTA. Management of cardiac failure may require permanent discontinuation
of INLYTA.

Gastrointestinal perforation and fistula, including death, have occurred. Use with caution in patients at risk for gastrointestinal perforation or  stula. Monitor for symptoms of gastrointestinal perforation or  stula periodically throughout treatment. Hypothyroidism requiring thyroid hormone replacement has been reported. Monitor thyroid function before initiation of, and periodically throughout, treatment. No formal studies of the effect of INLYTA on wound healing have been conducted. Stop INLYTA at least 24 hours prior to scheduled surgery.

Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS) has been observed. If signs or symptoms occur, permanently discontinue treatment.

PP-INL-USA-0390

© 2016 Pfizer Inc.

2017-2

Monitor for proteinuria before initiation of, and periodically throughout, treatment. For moderate to severe proteinuria, reduce the dose or temporarily interrupt treatment.

Liver enzyme elevation has been observed during treatment with INLYTA. Monitor ALT, AST, and bilirubin before initiation of, and periodically throughout, treatment.

For patients with moderate hepatic impairment, the starting dose should be decreased. INLYTA has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment.

Women of childbearing potential should be advised of potential hazard to the fetus and to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving INLYTA.

Avoid strong CYP3A4/5 inhibitors. If unavoidable, reduce the dose. Grapefruit or grapefruit juice may also increase INLYTA plasma concentrations and should be avoided.

Avoid strong CYP3A4/5 inducers and, if possible, avoid moderate
CYP3A4/5 inducers.

The most common (≥20%) adverse events (AEs) occurring in patients receiving INLYTA (all grades, vs sorafenib) were diarrhea (55% vs 53%), hypertension (40% vs 29%), fatigue (39% vs 32%), decreased appetite (34% vs 29%), nausea (32% vs 22%), dysphonia (31% vs 14%), handfoot syndrome (27% vs 51%), weight decreased (25% vs 21%), vomiting (24% vs 17%), asthenia (21% vs 14%), and constipation (20% vs 20%).

The most common (≥10%) grade 3/4 AEs occurring in patients receiving INLYTA (vs sorafenib) were hypertension (16% vs 11%), diarrhea (11% vs 7%), and fatigue (11% vs 5%).

The most common (≥20%) lab abnormalities occurring in patients receiving INLYTA (all grades, vs sorafenib) included increased creatinine (55% vs 41%), decreased bicarbonate (44% vs 43%), hypocalcemia (39% vs 59%), decreased hemoglobin (35% vs 52%), decreased lymphocytes (absolute) (33% vs 36%), increased ALP (30% vs 34%), hyperglycemia (28% vs 23%), increased lipase (27% vs 46%), increased amylase (25% vs 33%), increased ALT (22% vs 22%), and increased AST (20% vs 25%).

All rights reserved.

November 2016

References

1. Rini BI, Escudier B, Tomczak P, et al. Comparative effectiveness of axitinib versus sorafenib in advanced renal cell carcinoma (AXIS): a randomised phase 3 trial. Lancet. 2011;378(9807):1931-1939.
2. Rini BI, Escudier B, Hariharan S, et al. Long-term safety with axitinib in previously treated patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Clin Genitourin Cancer. 2015;13(6):540-547. mRCC=metastatic renal cell carcinoma; TKI=tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

INLYTA® (AXITINIB) TABLETS FOR ORAL ADMINISTRATION Initial U.S. Approval: 2012

Brief Summary of Prescribing Information

INDICATIONS AND USAGE: INLYTA is indicated for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) after failure of one prior systemic therapy.

DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION

Recommended Dosing. The recommended starting oral dose of INLYTA is 5 mg twice daily. Administer INLYTA doses approximately 12 hours apart with or without food. INLYTA should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. If the patient vomits or misses a dose, an additional dose should not be taken. The next prescribed dose should be taken at the usual time.

Dose Modification Guidelines. Dose increase or reduction is recommended based on individual safety and tolerability. Over the course of treatment, patients who tolerate INLYTA for at least two consecutive weeks with no adverse reactions >Grade 2 (according to the Common Toxicity Criteria for Adverse Events [CTCAE]), are normotensive, and are not receiving anti-hypertension medication, may have their dose increased. When a dose increase from 5 mg twice daily is recommended, the INLYTA dose may be increased to 7 mg twice daily, and further to 10 mg twice daily using the same criteria. Over the course of treatment, management of some adverse drug reactions may require temporary interruption or permanent discontinuation and/or dose reduction of INLYTA therapy [see Warnings and Precautions]. If dose reduction from 5 mg twice daily is required, the recommended dose is 3 mg twice daily. If additional dose reduction is required, the recommended dose is 2 mg twice daily. Strong CYP3A4/5 Inhibitors: The concomitant use of strong CYP3A4/5 inhibitors should be avoided (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, clarithromycin, atazanavir, indinavir, nefazodone, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir, telithromycin, and voriconazole). Selection of an alternate concomitant medication with no or minimal CYP3A4/5 inhibition potential is recommended. Although INLYTA dose adjustment has not been studied in patients receiving strong CYP3A4/5 inhibitors, if a strong CYP3A4/5 inhibitor must be co-administered, a dose decrease of INLYTA by approximately half is recommended, as this dose reduction is predicted to adjust the axitinib area under the plasma concentration vs time curve (AUC) to the range observed without inhibitors. The subsequent doses can be increased or decreased based on individual safety and tolerability. If co-administration of the strong inhibitor is discontinued, the INLYTA dose should be returned (after 3–5 half-lives of the inhibitor) to that used prior to initiation of the strong CYP3A4/5 inhibitor. Hepatic Impairment: No starting dose adjustment is required when administering INLYTA to patients with mild hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class A). Based on the pharmacokinetic data, the INLYTA starting dose should be reduced by approximately half in patients with baseline moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class B). The subsequent doses can be increased or decreased based on individual safety and tolerability. INLYTA has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class C).

DOSAGE FORMS AND STRENGTHS

1 mg tablets of INLYTA: red, film-coated, oval tablets, debossed with “Pfizer” on one side and “1 XNB” on the other side.

5 mg tablets of INLYTA: red, film-coated, triangular tablets, debossed with “Pfizer” on one side and “5 XNB” on the other side.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: None

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Hypertension and Hypertensive Crisis. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, hypertension was reported in 145/359 patients (40%) receiving INLYTA and 103/355 patients (29%) receiving sorafenib. Grade 3/4 hypertension was observed in 56/359 patients (16%) receiving INLYTA and 39/355 patients (11%) receiving sorafenib. Hypertensive crisis was reported in 2/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib. The median onset time for hypertension (systolic blood pressure >150 mmHg or diastolic blood pressure >100 mmHg) was within the first month of the start of INLYTA treatment and blood pressure increases have been observed as early as 4 days after starting INLYTA. Hypertension was managed with standard antihypertensive therapy. Discontinuation of INLYTA treatment due to hypertension occurred in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib. Blood pressure should be well-controlled prior to initiating INLYTA. Patients should be monitored for hypertension and treated as needed with standard anti-hypertensive therapy. In the case of persistent hypertension despite use of anti-hypertensive medications, reduce the INLYTA dose. Discontinue INLYTA if hypertension is severe and persistent despite anti-hypertensive therapy and dose reduction of INLYTA, and discontinuation should be considered if there is evidence of hypertensive crisis. If INLYTA is interrupted, patients receiving antihypertensive medications should be monitored for hypotension.

Arterial Thromboembolic Events. In clinical trials, arterial thromboembolic events have been reported, including deaths. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, Grade 3/4 arterial thromboembolic events were reported in 4/359 patients (1%) receiving INLYTA and 4/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. Fatal cerebrovascular accident was reported in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib [see Adverse Reactions]. In clinical trials with INLYTA, arterial thromboembolic events (including transient ischemic attack, cerebrovascular accident, myocardial infarction, and retinal artery occlusion) were reported in 17/715 patients (2%), with two deaths secondary to cerebrovascular accident. Use INLYTA with caution in patients who are at risk for, or who have a history of, these events. INLYTA has not been studied in patients who had an arterial thromboembolic event within the previous 12 months.

Venous Thromboembolic Events. In clinical trials, venous thromboembolic events have been reported, including deaths. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, venous thromboembolic events were reported in 11/359 patients (3%) receiving INLYTA and 2/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. Grade 3/4 venous thromboembolic events were reported in 9/359 patients (3%) receiving INLYTA (including pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, retinal vein occlusion and retinal vein thrombosis) and 2/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. Fatal pulmonary embolism was reported in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib. In clinical trials with INLYTA, venous thromboembolic events were reported in 22/715 patients (3%), with two deaths secondary to pulmonary embolism. Use INLYTA with caution in patients who are at risk for, or who have a history of, these events. INLYTA has not been studied in patients who had a venous thromboembolic event within the previous 6 months.

Haemorrhage. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, haemorrhagic events were reported in 58/359 patients (16%) receiving INLYTA and 64/355 patients (18%) receiving sorafenib. Grade 3/4 haemorrhagic events were reported in 5/359 (1%) patients receiving INLYTA (including cerebral haemorrhage, hematuria, hemoptysis, lower gastrointestinal haemorrhage, and melena) and 11/355 (3%) patients receiving sorafenib. Fatal haemorrhage was reported in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA (gastric haemorrhage) and 3/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. INLYTA has not been studied in patients who have evidence of untreated brain metastasis or recent active gastrointestinal bleeding and should not be used in those patients. If any bleeding requires medical intervention, temporarily interrupt the INLYTA dose. Cardiac Failure. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, cardiac failure was reported in 6/359 patients (2%) receiving INLYTA and 3/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. Grade 3/4 cardiac failure was observed in 2/359 patients (1%) receiving INLYTA and 1/355 patients (<1%) receiving sorafenib. Fatal cardiac failure was reported in 2/359 patients (1%) receiving INLYTA and 1/355 patients (<1%) receiving sorafenib. Monitor for signs or symptoms of cardiac failure throughout treatment with INLYTA. Management of cardiac failure may require permanent discontinuation of INLYTA.

Gastrointestinal Perforation and Fistula Formation. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, gastrointestinal perforation was reported in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib. In clinical trials with INLYTA, gastrointestinal perforation was reported in 5/715 patients (1%), including one death. In addition to cases of gastrointestinal perforation, fistulas were reported in 4/715 patients (1%). Monitor for symptoms of gastrointestinal perforation or fistula periodically throughout treatment with INLYTA.

Thyroid Dysfunction. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, hypothyroidism was reported in 69/359 patients (19%) receiving INLYTA and 29/355 patients (8%) receiving sorafenib. Hyperthyroidism was reported in 4/359 patients (1%) receiving INLYTA and 4/355 patients (1%) receiving sorafenib. In patients who had thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) <5 μU/mL before treatment, elevations of TSH to 10 μU/mL occurred in 79/245 patients (32%) receiving INLYTA and 25/232 patients (11%) receiving sorafenib. Monitor thyroid function before initiation of, and periodically throughout, treatment with INLYTA. Treat hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism according to standard medical practice to maintain euthyroid state.

Wound Healing Complications. No formal studies of the effect of INLYTA on wound healing have been conducted. Stop treatment with INLYTA at least 24 hours prior to scheduled surgery. The decision to resume INLYTA therapy after surgery should be based on clinical judgment of adequate wound healing.

Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome (RPLS) was reported in 1/359 patients (<1%) receiving INLYTA and none of the patients receiving sorafenib. There were two additional reports of RPLS in other clinical trials with INLYTA. RPLS is a neurological disorder which can present with headache, seizure, lethargy, confusion, blindness and other visual and neurologic disturbances. Mild to severe hypertension may be present. Magnetic resonance imaging is necessary to confirm the diagnosis of RPLS. Discontinue INLYTA in patients developing RPLS. The safety of reinitiating INLYTA therapy in patients previously experiencing RPLS is not known.

Proteinuria. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, proteinuria was reported in 39/359 patients (11%) receiving INLYTA and 26/355 patients (7%) receiving sorafenib. Grade 3 proteinuria was reported in 11/359 patients (3%) receiving INLYTA and 6/355 patients (2%) receiving sorafenib. Monitoring for proteinuria before initiation of, and periodically throughout, treatment with INLYTA is recommended. For patients who develop moderate to severe proteinuria, reduce the dose or temporarily interrupt INLYTA treatment.

Elevation of Liver Enzymes. In a controlled clinical study with INLYTA for the treatment of patients with RCC, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) elevations of all grades occurred in 22% of patients on both arms, with Grade 3/4 events in <1% of patients on the INLYTA arm and 2% of patients on the sorafenib arm. Monitor ALT, aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and bilirubin before initiation of and periodically throughout treatment with INLYTA.

Hepatic Impairment. The systemic exposure to axitinib was higher in subjects with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class B) compared to subjects with normal hepatic function. A dose decrease is recommended when administering INLYTA to patients with moderate hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class B). INLYTA has not been studied in patients with severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh class C).

Pregnancy. INLYTA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman based on its mechanism of action. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women using INLYTA. In developmental toxicity studies in mice, axitinib was teratogenic, embryotoxic and fetotoxic at maternal exposures that were lower than human exposures at the recommended clinical dose. Women of childbearing potential should be advised to avoid becoming pregnant while receiving INLYTA. If this drug is used during pregnancy, or if a patient becomes pregnant while receiving this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to the fetus.

ADVERSE REACTIONS

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in clinical practice. The safety of INLYTA has been evaluated in 715 patients in monotherapy studies, which included 537 patients with advanced RCC. The data described reflect exposure to INLYTA in 359 patients with advanced RCC who participated in a randomized clinical study versus sorafenib. The following risks, including appropriate action to be taken, are discussed in greater detail in other sections of the label: hypertension, arterial thromboembolic events, venous thromboembolic events, haemorrhage, gastrointestinal perforation and fistula formation, thyroid dysfunction, wound healing complications, RPLS, proteinuria, elevation of liver enzymes, and fetal development.

Clinical Trials Experience. The median duration of treatment was 6.4 months (range 0.03 to 22.0) for patients who received INLYTA and 5.0 months (range 0.03 to 20.1) for patients who received sorafenib. Dose modifications or temporary delay of treatment due to an adverse reaction occurred in 199/359 patients (55%) receiving INLYTA and 220/355 patients (62%) receiving sorafenib. Permanent discontinuation due to an adverse reaction occurred in 34/359 patients (9%) receiving INLYTA and 46/355 patients (13%) receiving sorafenib. The most common (20%) adverse reactions observed following treatment with INLYTA were diarrhea, hypertension, fatigue, decreased appetite, nausea, dysphonia, palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (hand-foot) syndrome, weight decreased, vomiting, asthenia, and constipation. The following table presents adverse reactions reported in 10% patients who received INLYTA or sorafenib.

2017-4
2017-5