FDA Approves Tivozanib for Relapsed/Refractory Advanced RCC


The FDA has approved tivozanib (Fotivda) for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed/refractory advanced renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following 2 or more prior systemic therapies.1

The approval is primarily based on findings from the phase 3 TIVO-3 trial, in which tivozanib demonstrated a significant improvement in progression-free survival (PFS) compared with sorafenib (Nexavar), with similar overall survival (OS), in patients with highly relapsed/refractory metastatic RCC.2

“Today’s approval of Fotivda provides a new tool for treating patients with kidney cancer who have relapsed or become refractory to 2 or more prior systemic therapies,” said lead study author Brian Rini, MD, chief of Clinical Trials at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. “With advances in RCC treatment, patients are living longer, increasing the need for proven, well-tolerated treatment options in the relapsed or refractory setting. The TIVO-3 study is the first positive phase 3 study in RCC patients who received 2 or more prior systemic therapies, and also the first phase 3 RCC study to include a predefined population of patients who have received prior immunotherapy, the current standard of care in earlier-line treatment. With this approval, I believe Fotivda represents an attractive intervention, and expect it to play a meaningful role in the evolving RCC treatment landscape.”

Data showed that the final hazard ratio (HR) for OS was 0.97 (95% CI, 0.75-1.24; P = .78). Moreover, an updated analysis of the data found that, with a median follow-up of 38 months for tivozanib and 40 months for sorafenib, the median OS was 16.4 months for tivozanib (95% CI, 13.4-22.2) and 19.2 months for sorafenib (95% CI, 15.0-24.2). A subset analysis showed the greatest benefit was derived by the cohort of patients who previously received a checkpoint inhibitor and VEGF inhibitor, with an HR of 0.55, or 2 VEGF TKIs, with an HR of 0.57.

Prior findings showed an increased median PFS for tivozanib when compared with sorafenib at 5.6 months versus 3.9 months, respectively (HR, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56-0.94; P = .016).

The TIVO-3 study was a controlled, multicenter, open-label, phase III trial which randomized 350 patients with highly refractory metastatic RCC who had failed ≥2 prior regimens, including VEGF-TKI treatment, 1:1 to receive either oral tivozanib or sorafenib. Crossover between arms was not permitted.

Eighteen percent (n = 31) of patients in the tivozanib arm achieved partial response, compared with 8% (n = 14) of those in the sorafenib arm. The objective response rate was 34% for tivozanib versus 24% for sorafenib.

Treatment with tivozanib was found to be generally well-tolerated, and the safety profile was favorable when compared with sorafenib. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) were reported in 84% (n = 146) of patients receiving tivozanib and 94% (n = 160) of those receiving sorafenib. Serious TRAEs occurred in 11% (n = 19) of patients treated with tivozanib versus 10% (n = 17) of patients who received sorafenib.

The most common grade 3 or 4 AE reported in patients receiving tivozanib and sorafenib was hypertension (21% vs 14%, respectively). The most commonly reported any grade AEs associated with tivozanib were hypertension (38%), diarrhea (33%), fatigue (29%), and decreased appetite (27%).

The investigators reported significantly reduced dose reductions and interruptions due to AEs for tivozanib versus sorafenib (48% vs 63%; P = .0164), despite nearly double the average time of cycles initiated for the tivozanib arm (11.9 months vs 6.7 months, respectively). Treatment related AEs leading to permanent discontinuation were 8% for tivozanib compared with 15% for sorafenib.

“We believe in Fotivda's potential to provide a differentiated treatment option for the growing number of individuals in the [United States] with relapsed or refractory RCC, and today marks the culmination of many years of hard work and determination of many individuals to bring this therapy to patients,” said Michael Bailey, president and chief executive officer of AVEO Oncology. “With today’s approval, AVEO begins its journey as a commercial-stage company, a noteworthy accomplishment in our industry. On behalf of the entire AVEO team, I would like to thank all the patients, their families, and caregivers whose tireless efforts made this day possible.”


  1. AVEO Oncology Announces U.S. FDA Approval of FOTIVDA® (tivozanib) for the Treatment of Adult Patients with Relapsed or Refractory Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma. AVEO Oncology. News release. March 10, 2021. Accessed March 10, 2021. https://bwnews.pr/3byYtgo
  2. Pal SK, Escudier B, Atkins MB, et al. TIVO-3: Final OS analysis of a phase III, randomized, controlled, multicenter, open-label study to compare tivozanib to sorafenib in subjects with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Presented at: 2020 ASCO Virtual Program; May 27, 2020. Abstract 5062.

This article was originally published on OncLive.

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