Clinical outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and brain metastasis treated with ipilimumab and nivolumab

Landon C. Brown, Kunal Desai, Wei Wei, Emily N. Kinsey, Chester Kao, Daniel J. George, Brian I. Rini, Moshe C. Ornstein, Tian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The combination of ipilimumab plus nivolumab (I+N) has greatly improved outcomes in patients with intermediate or poor-risk untreated metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). However, little is known about the outcomes of patients with brain metastasis (BrM) treated with I+N. A search was performed to retrospectively identify all patients with mRCC treated with I+N in the Duke Cancer Institute and the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center, followed by a chart review. Patients were included if they had BrM at the time of I+N initiation. Cohort characteristics are summarized with descriptive statistics. Kaplan-Meier method was used to estimate overall survival (OS) and global, intracranial, and extracranial progression-free survival (PFS) for the cohort and log rank test was used to compare OS and PFS between patient groups. Radiographic response was categorized by RECIST. Fisher's exact test was used to correlate patient factors with radiographic response. From October 2017 to December 2020, 19 patients with BrM received I+N for mRCC with a median follow-up time of 27.1 months (range 15.0-35.6). By International Metastatic RCC Database Consortium (IMDC) risk criteria, 16% had favorable, 58% had intermediate, and 26% had poor-risk disease. 68% were systemic therapy naïve, and 77% of patients had clear cell histology. 95% had received local CNS directed therapy with surgery, radiotherapy, or both. The objective response rate was 44% (0% complete response) with three of six patients treated in the second line or greater setting experiencing a partial response. The median PFS was 7.6 months (95% CI 5.6 to 14.9). The median extracranial PFS was 8.5 months (95% CI 5.6 to 19.7), and median intracranial PFS was 14.7 months (95% CI 7.2 to not reached). No variables assessed were significantly associated with radiographic response (gender, IMDC risk, presence of bone metastasis, line of therapy, or presence of immune related adverse events). In our retrospective cohort of patients with mRCC with BrM, I+N, in combination with CNS-directed local therapy, appears to have clinical efficacy as previously described with responses seen beyond the first-line setting. Further investigation is warranted in this population given exclusion from prior clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere003281
JournalJournal for ImmunoTherapy of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 13 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • brain neoplasms
  • immunotherapy
  • kidney neoplasms
  • programmed cell death 1 receptor
  • radiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Clinical outcomes in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma and brain metastasis treated with ipilimumab and nivolumab'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this