To evaluate the association between neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and efficacy of avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib.
Adult patients with untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with a clear-cell component, ≥1 measurable lesions, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, fresh or archival tumor specimen, and adequate renal, cardiac, and hepatic function were included. Retrospective analyses of the association between baseline NLR and progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in the avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib arms were performed using the first interim analysis of the phase 3 JAVELIN Renal 101 trial (NCT02684006). Multivariate Cox regression analyses of PFS and OS were conducted. Translational data were assessed to elucidate the underlying biology associated with differences in NLR.
Patients with below-median NLR had longer observed PFS with avelumab plus axitinib [stratified HR, 0.85; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.634–1.153] or sunitinib (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.415–0.745). In the avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib arms, respectively, median PFS was 13.8 and 11.2 months in patients with below-median NLR, and 13.3 and 5.6 months in patients with median-or-higher NLR. Below-median NLR was also associated with longer observed OS in the avelumab plus axitinib (HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.300–0.871) and sunitinib arms (HR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.174–0.511). Tumor analyses showed an association between NLR and key biological characteristics, suggesting a role of NLR in underlying mechanisms influencing clinical outcome.
Current data support NLR as a prognostic biomarker in patients with advanced RCC receiving avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib.