Nivolumab in combination with cabozantinib is in development for first-line treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). Renal cell carcinoma is the most common form of cancer that originates in the kidney. It may occur due to the mutation of cells in the kidney’s filtering system. RCC often has few symptoms, so may be diagnosed quite late, and tend to spread to other organs quite early. There are many types of RCCs and each type is derived from a different cell lineage and has its own distinct characteristics. In mRCC, the tumour has spread beyond the regional lymph nodes to other parts of the body.
Nivolumab works by improving the activity of white blood cells thereby increasing the ability of the immune system to kill cancer cells. Cabozantinib works to stop signals that cancer cells use to divide and grow. It is thought that when used in combination, both drugs may be more effective than each drug on its own. If licenced, nivolumab in combination with cabozantinib may improve long-term outcomes in mRCC patients who currently have limited treatment options.
Pembrolizumab in addition to platinum therapy and radiation is in clinical development for the treatment of unresectable locally advanced head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Cancers that are collectively known as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). The main risk factors for squamous cell carcinomas are smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol. Symptoms may include sore throat, difficulty swallowing and pain in the ears and others. Treatment options for cancer that has spread usually involve chemotherapy such as (platinum-based therapy) and/or radiotherapy and focus on relieving symptoms and prolonging life rather than curing the cancer.