Sonepcizumab With VEGF Inhibitors Improves Overall Survival in mRCC

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Sonepcizumab improves overall survival of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
Sonepcizumab improves overall survival of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

In conjunction with vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, sonepcizumab improves overall survival of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), according to a study published in Cancer.1

mRCC is usually incurable, despite several advances in treatment in recent years. VEGF inhibitors improve progression-free survival, but tumors evolve resistance to these drugs. For the present study, researchers evaluated whether sonepcizumab, a monoclonal antibody, can limit tumor resistance to VEGF-directed therapy.

Forty patients, 30 of whom had metastatic disease, were enrolled to this phase 2 trial between May 2013 and December 2014. When the study was discontinued in September 2015, median progression-free survival was 2.2 months, and the median overall survival was 21.7 months. No complete responses were reported.

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No grade 3-4 treatment-related adverse events were observed; fatigue was the most common grade 1-2 event, which was reported for 12 patients.

The authors conclude that although the primary endpoint was not met, the improvement in overall survival is encouraging. Sonepcizumab should be investigated further as a complement to PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors, in addition to VEGF inhibitors.


  1. Pal SK, Drabkin HA, Reeves JA, et al. A phase 2 study of the sphingosine-1-phosphate antibody sonepcizumab in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Cancer. 2016 Oct 11. doi: 10.1002/cncr.30393 [Epub ahead of print]

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