NeoAdjuvant pembrolizumab and STEreotactic radiotherapy prior to nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma (NAPSTER): A phase II randomised clinical trial

Publication Name

Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications


Background: Surgery remains the standard of care for localised renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Nevertheless, nearly 50% of patients with high-risk disease experience relapse after surgery, with distant sites being common. Considering improved outcomes in terms of disease-free survival with adjuvant immunotherapy with pembrolizumab, we hypothesise that neoadjuvant SABR with or without the addition of pembrolizumab before nephrectomy will lead to improved disease outcomes by evoking better immune response in the presence of an extensive reserve of tumor-associated antigens. Methods and analysis: This prospective, open-label, phase II, randomised, non-comparative, clinical trial will investigate the use of neoadjuvant stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy (SABR) with or without pembrolizumab prior to nephrectomy. The trial will be conducted at two centres in Australia that are well established for delivering SABR to primary RCC patients. Twenty-six patients with biopsy-proven clear cell RCC will be recruited over two years. Patients will be randomised to either SABR or SABR/pembrolizumab. Patients in both arms will undergo surgery at 9 weeks after completion of experimental treatment. The primary objectives are to describe major pathological response and changes in tumour-responsive T-cells from baseline pre-treatment biopsy in each arm. Patients will be followed for sixty days post-surgery. Outcomes and significance: We hypothesize that SABR alone or SABR plus pembrolizumab will induce significant tumor-specific immune response and major pathological response. In that case, either one or both arms could justifiably be used as a neoadjuvant treatment approach in future randomized trials in the high-risk patient population.

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Funding Sponsor

Merck Sharp and Dohme



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