Pathologic response and surgical outcomes in patients undergoing nephrectomy following receipt of immune checkpoint inhibitors for renal cell carcinoma

Singla N, Elias R, Ghandour RA, et al.
Urologic Oncology, September 2019
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.urolonc.2019.08.012

Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the pathologic response, safety, and feasibility of nephrectomy following receipt of immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI) for renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Methods

Patients who underwent nephrectomy for RCC after exposure to nivolumab monotherapy or combination ipilimumab/nivolumab were reviewed. Primary surgical outcomes included operative time (OT), estimated blood loss (EBL), length of stay (LOS), readmission rates, and complication rates. Pathologic response in the primary and metastatic sites constituted secondary outcomes.

Results

Eleven nephrectomies (10 radical, 1 partial) were performed in 10 patients after ICI with median postoperative follow-up 180 days. Six patients received 1 to 4 cycles of ipilimumab/nivolumab, while 5 received 2 to 12 infusions of nivolumab preoperatively. Five surgeries were performed laparoscopically, and 4 patients underwent concomitant thrombectomy. One patient exhibited complete response (pT0) to ICI, and 3/4 patients who underwent metastasectomy for hepatic, pulmonary, or adrenal lesions exhibited no detectable malignancy in any of the metastases resected. No patients experienced any major intraoperative complications, and all surgical margins were negative. Median OT, EBL, and LOS were 180 minutes, 100 ml, and 4 days, respectively. Four patients experienced a complication, including 3 that were addressed with interventional radiology procedures. One patient died of progressive disease >3 months after surgery, and 1 patient succumbed to pulmonary embolism complicated by sepsis. No complications or readmissions were noted in 6 patients.

Conclusions

Nephrectomy following ICI for RCC is safe and technically feasible with favorable surgical outcomes and pathologic response. Timing of the nephrectomy relative to checkpoint dosing did not seem to impact outcome. Biopsies of lesions responding radiographically to ICI may warrant attention prior to surgical excision.

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