Merck and Pfizer have announced that the UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued an Early Access to Medicines Scheme (EAMS) positive scientific opinion for Bavencio (avelumab) used in combination with Inlyta (axitinib).
The opinion is for the combination as first-line treatment of adult patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and is based on information relating to the benefit and risks of the medicines and enables clinicians to prescribe the unlicensed treatment under their own responsibility.
The combination was approved by the FDA in May this year based on positive results from the Phase III JAVELIN Renal 101 study (NCT02684006), in which the combination significantly improved median progression-free survival (PFS) compared with sunitinib by more than five months. The study included patients regardless of PD-L1 expression and across IMDC (International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database) prognostic risk groups.
There is a significant unmet need for RCC first-line treatments that delay progression and have an acceptable safety profile, as approximately 20% to 30% of patients are first diagnosed with RCC at the advanced stage, and 30% of patients treated for an earlier stage go on to develop metastases.
RCC is the most common kind of kidney cancer found in adults, it occurs when cancer cells start growing uncontrollably in the lining of the tubules of the kidney.
The combination is not licensed in Europe for advanced RCC and is currently under review by European Medicines Agency.