Precision oncology: identifying predictive biomarkers for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Parth K. Modi, Nicholas J. Farber, Eric A. Singer


The recent FDA approval of multiple new pharmaceutical agents for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has left physicians with several options for first- and second-line therapy. With limited head-to-head comparisons, however, there is a paucity of evidence to recommend the use of one agent over another. To address this knowledge gap, Voss et al. identified serum biomarkers from specimens collected during the Renal Cell Cancer Treatment With Oral RAD001 Given Daily (RECORD-3) trial, a comparative study of first-line sunitinib versus first-line everolimus. Of the biomarkers identified, the 5 most strongly associated with first-line everolimus progression-free survival (PFS1L) were combined to form a composite biomarker score (CBS). The CBS was significantly associated with everolimus PFS1L in multivariate regression analysis. This study is an example of the additional value offered by a randomized trial with prospective biospecimen collection and a significant step towards identifying predictive biomarkers for the treatment of metastatic RCC. As further comparative trials are performed, it will be essential that biomarkers are appropriately identified and validated in order to further the goal of precision oncology.