In the past two decades, there has been a significant improvement in the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC). These insights in the biological pathways have resulted in the development of multiple agents targeting vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), as well as inhibitors of the mammalian target of the rapamycin (mTOR) pathway. Most recently, checkpoint inhibitors were shown to have excellent clinical efficacy. Although the patients are living longer, durable complete responses are rarely seen. Historically, high dose interleukin 2 (IL2) therapy has produced durable complete responses in 5% to 8% highly selected patients—albeit with significant toxicity. A durable complete response is a surrogate for a long-term response in the modern era of targeted therapy and checkpoint immunotherapy. Numerous clinical trials are currently exploring the combination of immunotherapy with various targeted therapeutic agents to develop therapies with a higher complete response rate with acceptable toxicity. in this study, we provide a comprehensive review of multiple reported and ongoing clinical trials evaluating the combination of PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors with either ipilimumab (a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4, CTLA-4 inhibitor) or with anti-VEGF targeted therapy.
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