(HealthDay News) — Lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab improves progression-free survival and overall survival, compared with sunitinib, in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, according to research published in The Lancet Oncology.

Researchers conducted an updated analysis of the phase 3 CLEAR trial. Patients with clear-cell advanced renal cell carcinoma who had not received any systemic anticancer therapy were eligible and randomly assigned to receive lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab (n=355) or sunitinib (n=357).

The median follow-up for progression-free survival was 27.8 months in the lenvatinib-pembrolizumab group and 19.4 months in the sunitinib group. The median progression-free survival was 23.3 months and 9.2 months, respectively (stratified hazard ratio, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.34-0.52).

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For overall survival, the median follow-up was 33.7 months in the lenvatinib-pembrolizumab group and 33.4 months in the sunitinib group. The median overall survival was not reached in either group, but it was improved in the lenvatinib-pembrolizumab group (hazard ratio, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.55-0.93).

“This extended follow-up analysis shows the durable and clinically meaningful efficacy benefit with lenvatinib plus pembrolizumab over sunitinib,” the study authors wrote. “Previously observed benefits in overall survival, progression-free survival, and objective response rate were maintained.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to biopharmaceutical companies, including Eisai and Merck, which manufacture lenvatinib (Eisai) and pembrolizumab (Merck) and funded the study.

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