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Everolimus in the management of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: an evidence-based review of its place in therapy

Authors Buti S, Leonetti A, Dallatomasina A, Bersanelli M

Received 14 June 2016

Accepted for publication 15 August 2016

Published 1 September 2016 Volume 2016:11 Pages 23—36


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Garry Walsh

Sebastiano Buti,1 Alessandro Leonetti,1 Alice Dallatomasina,2 Melissa Bersanelli1

1Medical Oncology Unit, University Hospital of Parma, Parma, 2Division of Experimental Oncology, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Milan, Italy

Introduction: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, and its pathogenesis is strictly related to altered cellular response to hypoxia, in which mTOR signaling pathway is implicated. Everolimus, an mTOR serine/threonine kinase inhibitor, represents a therapeutic option for the treatment of advanced RCC.
Aim: The objective of this article is to review the evidence for the treatment of metastatic RCC with everolimus.
Evidence review: Everolimus was approved for second- and third-line therapy in patients with advanced RCC according to the results of a Phase III pivotal trial that demonstrated a benefit in median progression-free survival of ~2 months compared to placebo after failure of previous lines of therapy, of which at least one was an anti-VEGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI). The role of this drug in first-line setting has been investigated in Phase II trials, with no significant clinical benefit, even in combination with bevacizumab. Everolimus activity in non-clear cell RCC is supported by two randomized Phase II trials that confirmed the benefit in second-line setting but not in first line. Recently, two randomized Phase III trials (METEOR and CheckMate 025) demonstrated the inferiority of everolimus in second-line setting compared to the TKI cabozantinib and to the immune checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab, respectively. Moreover, a recent Phase II study demonstrated a significant benefit for the second-line combination treatment with everolimus plus lenvatinib (a novel TKI) in terms of progression-free survival and overall survival compared to the single-agent everolimus. Basing on preclinical data, the main downstream effectors of mTOR cascade, S6RP and its phosphorylated form, could be good predictive biomarkers of response to everolimus. The safety profile of the drug is favorable, with a good cost-effectiveness compared to second-line sorafenib or axitinib, and no significant impact on the quality of life of treated patients has been found.
Conclusion: Everolimus still represents a current standard of treatment for RCC progressive to previous treatment lines with VEGFR-TKI. The evidence about two new molecules, cabozantinib and nivolumab, successfully tested head-to-head with everolimus in recently published Phase III ­trials, will determine the shift of everolimus to the third-line setting and subsequent lines of treatment.

Keywords: everolimus, afinitor, evidence-based review, renal cell carcinoma, RCC

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