Association of Neutrophil-to-Lymphocyte Ratio With Efficacy of First-Line Avelumab Plus Axitinib vs Sunitinib in Patients with Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma Enrolled in the Phase 3 JAVELIN Renal 101 Trial

Purpose: To evaluate the association between neutrophil-to-lymphocyte ratio (NLR) and efficacy of avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib. Experimental Design: Adult patients with untreated advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with a clear-cell component, {greater than or equal to}1 measurable lesion, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0 or 1, fresh or archival tumor specimen, and adequate renal, cardiac, and hepatic function were included. Retrospective analyses of the association between baseline NLR and progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in the avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib arms were performed using the first interim analysis of the phase 3 JAVELIN Renal 101 trial (NCT02684006). Multivariate Cox regression analyses of PFS and OS were conducted. Translational data were assessed to elucidate the underlying biology associated with differences in NLR. Results: Patients with below-median NLR had longer observed PFS with avelumab plus axitinib (stratified HR, 0.85; 95% CI, 0.634-1.153) or sunitinib (HR, 0.56; 95% CI, 0.415-0.745). In the avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib arms, respectively, median PFS was 13.8 and 11.2 months in patients with below-median NLR, and 13.3 and 5.6 months in patients with median-or-higher NLR. Below-median NLR was also associated with longer observed OS in the avelumab plus axitinib (HR, 0.51; 95% CI, 0.300-0.871) and sunitinib arms (HR, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.174-0.511). Tumor analyses showed an association between NLR and key biological characteristics, suggesting a role of NLR in underlying mechanisms influencing clinical outcome. Conclusions: Current data support NLR as a prognostic biomarker in patients with advanced RCC receiving avelumab plus axitinib or sunitinib.