In the current era of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs), the role and optimal timing of a nephrectomy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) remain unknown.
To assess the oncological outcomes of patients who responded to ICI-based treatments and were subsequently treated with a delayed nephrectomy.
Design, setting, and participants
This national retrospective evaluation included 30 patients with mRCC who underwent a nephrectomy after a complete response (CR) or a major partial response (>80%) to ICI treatment at metastatic sites.
Partial or radical nephrectomy after a favorable response to ICI treatment.
Outcome measurements and statistical analysis
Disease-free survival (DFS), progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), and potential discontinuation of systemic treatment were assessed.
Results and limitations
ICI-based treatments included ipilimumab-nivolumab (40%), ICI + tyrosine kinase inhibitor (10%), and nivolumab (50%). A delayed nephrectomy was performed after a median ICI treatment duration of 10 mo. In 19 cases (63.3%), surgeons faced difficulties due to adhesions or inflammatory changes. A complete pathological response was observed in 16.7% of patients. After a median follow-up of 19.5 mo after nephrectomy, 76.7% of patients achieved DFS. At 1 yr, 66.7% of patients were free from systemic treatment. The PFS and OS rates were, respectively, 96.7% and 100% at 1 yr, and 78.3% and 86.1% at 2 yr. Patients with a CR at metastatic sites had a better prognosis than those with a major partial response, in terms of DFS (p = 0.022) and PFS (p = 0.014).
Despite potentially challenging surgery, a delayed nephrectomy for patients who responded to ICI treatment provided promising oncological outcomes, and the majority of patients could discontinue systemic treatment.
In this study, we evaluated the clinical outcome in patients who responded well to immunotherapy, and subsequently underwent kidney ablation surgery. Three-quarters of patients experienced no recurrence, and in most cases, medical treatment could be discontinued.