From the Journals

Shorter time to metastases associated with worse RCC outcomes



Shorter time to metastatic development was associated with shorter time to treatment failure and shorter overall survival in an international review of over 7,000 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients treated with first-line tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

“Patients with synchronous disease, compared with patients with metachronous disease, have more adverse prognostic features, significantly shorter TTF [time to treatment failure], and poorer survival. This may help in patient counseling and may be taken into consideration in clinical trial designs in the future, in order to avoid an imbalance between treatment arms,” wrote investigators led by Frede Donskov, MD, a clinical professor at Aarhus (Denmark) University Hospital, in European Urology Oncology.

In the largest study to date to address the impact of timing of metastases on outcomes from tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment, something that’s been unclear until now, Dr. Donskov and associates turned to the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium (IMDC) to compare outcomes of 3,906 patients with synchronous metastases, meaning metastases within 3 months of initial RCC diagnosis, with 3,480 with metachronous disease, meaning metastases after that point.

They found that more patients with synchronous versus metachronous disease had higher T stage (T1-2, 19% vs. 34%), N1 disease (21% vs. 6%), presence of sarcomatoid differentiation (15.8% vs. 7.9%), Karnofsky performance status less than 80 (25.9% vs. 15.1%), anemia (62.5% vs. 42.3%), elevated neutrophils (18.9% vs. 10.9%), elevated platelets (21.6% vs. 11.4%), bone metastases (40.4% vs. 29.8%); and IMDC poor risk (40.6% vs.11.3%).

Synchronous versus metachronous disease by intervals of more than 3-12 months, more than 1-2 years, more than 2-7 years, and more than 7 years correlated with poor TTF (5.6 months vs. 7.3, 8.0, 10.8, and 13.3 months; P less than .0001) and poor overall survival (median, 16.7 months vs. 23.8, 30.2, 34.8, and 41.7 months; P less than .0001).

On multivariable regressions adjusting for baseline variables, metachronous disease was protective versus synchronous RCC on overall survival and TTF, with a greater protective effect the longer it took for the disease to metastasize.

“Synchronous disease may represent a distinct pathologic and molecular phenotype ... a high proportion of patients with synchronous disease have tumors with punctuated evolution, harboring aggressive disease features, consolidating in worse risk factors, requiring systemic therapy earlier, and having almost half the expected survival after the initiation of targeted therapy, compared with the latest metastatic timing, as shown in our study,” the investigators wrote.

The findings “reflect the underlying aggressive tumor biology. Whether [time to metastasis] impacts outcome to checkpoint immunotherapy is yet to be elucidated,” they added.

Patients were a median of 59 years at diagnosis, and 72.9% were men. None of the synchronous patients had a surgical nephrectomy, compared with 95.4% of metachronous patients; 67.2% of patients in both groups were treated with the TKI sunitinib (Sutent).

The work was funded by the IMDC. The lead investigator reported institutional grants from Ipsen and Pfizer, maker of sunitinib.

SOURCE: Donskov F et al. Eur Urol Oncol. 2020 Feb 6. doi: 10.1016/j.euo.2020.01.001.

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