: The KEYNOTE-564 randomised controlled trial showed a disease-free survival benefit of adjuvant pembrolizumab (aPZB) in comparison to placebo for patients with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) at high risk of recurrence. Despite its recommendation by the European Association of Urology guidelines, the ultimate value of aPZB has recently been questioned. Arguably, patients who might benefit the most from aPZB are those whose probability of RCC recurrence outweighs their probability of dying from other causes over a reasonable timeframe after surgery. To assess the potential impact of this hypothesis on "eligibility" for aPZB, we queried our prospectively collected multi-institutional database for consecutive patients undergoing surgery for nonmetastatic renal masses (cT1-4 N0-1 M0) between 2015 and 2021 to identify ccRCC cases meeting the KEYNOTE-564 criteria. We stratified the patients using the risk-adapted model proposed by Stewart-Merrill et al (whereby stopping follow-up is warranted when the estimated risk of other-cause mortality [OCM] outweighs the estimated risk of RCC recurrence). Then we explored the proportion of patients whose follow-up could theoretically be stopped at 2, 5, 10, or 20 yr, for whom "eligibility" for aPZB might be more controversial. Overall, 1745 patients with ccRCC were included, of whom 419 (24%) met the KEYNOTE-564 criteria. The proportion of patients "not eligible" for aPZB because of higher probability of OCM than of RCC recurrence would have been 81%, 66%, 43%, and 29% at "recommended" follow-up of ≤2.0, ≤5, ≤10, and ≤20 yr, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study providing insights to support shared decision-making regarding eligibility for aPZB for patients with nonmetastatic ccRCC with a focus on patient-related factors beyond tumour-driven prognostic scores. PATIENT SUMMARY: An immunotherapy drug call pembrolizumab given after surgery for nonmetastatic kidney cancer may benefit some patients who have a high risk of disease recurrence, but it can have immune-related side effects. We found that comparing the risk of death from other causes and the risk of cancer recurrence could help in reducing overtreatment of patients who might not benefit from this drug.
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