Renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) is a rare kidney cancer that predominately affects those of African descent carrying the sickle cell trait. Additionally, it is one of the most aggressive kidney cancers with approximately 67% of patients presenting with metastatic disease at diagnosis and median survival time of 13 months. RMC has been largely resistant to immune checkpoint inhibitors, drugs that have revolutionized cancer treatment for a numerous number of cancer types. To better understand the resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors, the researchers assessed tumor tissue from a number of RMC patients. They found that a large amount of T-cells were suppressed by LAG-3, a protein responsible for inactivating T-cells. Drugs that target LAG-3, such as relatlimab, have been shown to reinvigorate exhausted T-cells, resulting in an increased antitumor effect of immune checkpoint inhibitors targeting PD-1 such as nivolumab. This phase II study will assess the overall response rate of nivolumab in combination with relatimab in patients with RMC. To the knowledge of the researchers, this is the only ongoing clinical trial specifically designed to test immunotherapies in RMC.
Trial Registration: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT05347212