A Study to Compare Cabozantinib versus Sunitinib to Treat Metastatic Variant Histology Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients


About this study

The purpose of this investigational study is to compare the safety and effectiveness of cabozantinib and sunitinib when given to patients with metastatic (has spread) variant histology renal cell carcinoma (vhRCC), a type of kidney cancer. Cabozantinib and sunitinib are both FDA approved and commercially available for the treatment of advanced kidney cancer, including vhRCC.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. There is no guarantee that every individual who qualifies and wants to participate in a trial will be enrolled. Contact the study team to discuss study eligibility and potential participation.

nclusion Criteria: 

  • The subject has a histologic or cytologic diagnosis of a variant histology renal cell carcinoma including papillary, chromophobe, Xp.11 translocation, undifferentiated, or unclassified which is treatment naïve or has previously been treated with one systemic treatment line not containing any vascular endothelial growth factor antibody or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The patient may have received treatment with immune checkpoint therapy including nivolumab as a single agent or nivolumab plus ipilimumab in combination. Previous treatment with mammalian target of rapamycin agents such as temsirolimus or everolimus is acceptable.
  • Measurable disease per RECIST v1.1 as determined by the investigator. 
  • The subject has had an assessment of all known disease sites; e.g., by computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), bone scan as appropriate, within 28 days before the first dose of cabozantinib or sunitinib. 
  • The subject is ≥ 18 years old on the day of consent.
  • The subject has an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of ≤ 2.
  • Recovery to baseline or ≤ Grade 1 CTAE v.4.0 from toxicities related to any prior treatments, unless AE(s) are clinically nonsignificant and/or stable on supportive therapy;
  • The subject has organ and marrow function and laboratory values as follows within 4 days before the first dose of cabozantinib or sunitinib:
    • The ANC ≥ 1500/mm^3 without colony stimulating factor support;
    • White blood cell count ≥ 2500/mm^3 (≥ 2.5 GI/L);
    • Platelets ≥ 100,000/mm^3;
    • Hemoglobin ≥ 9 g/dL; 
    • Bilirubin ≤ 1.5 x the ULN.  For subjects with known Gilbert's disease, bilirubin ≤ 3.0 x ULN;
    • Serum albumin ≥ 2.8 g/dl;
    • Serum creatinine ≤ 2.0 X ULN or calculated creatinine clearance ≥ 30 mL/min (≥ 0.5 mL/sec) using the Cockcroft-Gault equation:
    • Males: (140 - age) x weight (kg)/(serum creatinine [mg/dL] × 72);
    • Females: [(140 - age) x weight (kg)/(serum creatinine [mg/dL] × 72)] × 0.85;
    • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) ≤ 3 X upper limit of normal (ULN). ALP ≤ 5 X ULN with documented bone metastases;
    • Urine protein/creatinine ratio (UPCR) ≤ 1 mg/mg (≤ 113.2 mg/mmol).
  • The subject is capable of understanding and complying with the protocol requirements and has signed the informed consent document.
  • Sexually active subjects (men and women) must agree to use medically accepted barrier methods of contraception (e.g., male or female condom) during the course of the study and for 4 months after the last dose of study drug(s), even if oral contraceptives are also used. All subjects of reproductive potential must agree to use both a barrier method and a second method of birth control during the course of the study and for 4 months after the last dose of study drug(s).
  • Female subjects of childbearing potential must not be pregnant at screening. Females of childbearing potential are defined as premenopausal females capable of becoming pregnant; i.e., females who have had any evidence of menses in the past 12 months, with the exception of those who had prior hysterectomy). However, women who have been amenorrheic for 12 or more months are still considered to be of childbearing potential if the amenorrhea is possibly due to prior chemotherapy, antiestrogens, low body weight, ovarian suppression or other reasons.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • The subject has a variant histology that includes renal medullary carcinoma or collecting duct renal cell carcinoma. Any clear cell component in the tumor will lead to exclusion.
  • Prior treatment with cabozantinib or sunitinib.
  • Radiation therapy within 2 weeks. Systemic treatment with radionuclides within 6 weeks before the first dose of study treatment. Subjects with clinically relevant ongoing complications from prior radiation therapy are not eligible.
  • The subject has received any other type of investigational agent within 28 days before the first dose of study treatment.
  • Known brain metastases or cranial epidural disease unless adequately treated with radiotherapy and/or surgery (including radiosurgery) and stable for at least 4 weeks before the first dose of study treatment. Eligible subjects must be neurologically asymptomatic and without corticosteroid treatment at the time of the start of study treatment.
  • Concomitant anticoagulation with coumarin agents (e.g., warfarin).
  • The subject has prothrombin time (PT)/INR or partial thromboplastin time (PTT) test ≥ 2.0 × the laboratory ULN within 7 days before the first dose of study treatment.
  • The subject has uncontrolled, significant intercurrent or recent illness including, but not limited to, the following conditions:
  • Cardiovascular disorders:
    • Congestive heart failure New York Heart Association Class 3 or 4, unstable angina pectoris, serious cardiac arrhythmias;
    • Uncontrolled hypertension defined as sustained blood pressure (BP) > 150 mm Hg systolic or > 100 mm Hg diastolic despite optimal antihypertensive treatment;
    • Stroke (including transient ischemic attack [TIA]), myocardial infarction (MI), or other ischemic event, or thromboembolic event (e.g., deep venous thrombosis, pulmonary embolism) within 6 months before first dose;
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders including those associated with a high risk of perforation or fistula formation:
    • The subject has evidence of tumor invading the GI tract, active peptic ulcer disease, inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn’s disease), diverticulitis, cholecystitis, symptomatic cholangitis or appendicitis, acute pancreatitis, acute obstruction of the pancreatic duct or common bile duct, or gastric outlet obstruction;
    • Abdominal fistula, GI perforation, bowel obstruction, or intraabdominal abscess within 6 months before first dose.
      • Note: Complete healing of an intra-abdominal abscess must be confirmed before first dose
  • Clinically significant hematemesis, or hemoptysis of > 0.5 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of red blood, or other history of significant bleeding (e.g., pulmonary hemorrhage) within 12 weeks before first dose.
  • Other clinically significant disorders that would preclude safe study participation.
    • Serious non-healing wound/ulcer/bone fracture.
    • Uncompensated/symptomatic hypothyroidism.
    • Moderate- to- severe hepatic impairment (Child-Pugh B or C).
  • Major surgery (e.g., GI surgery, removal or biopsy of brain metastasis) within 4 weeks before first dose of study treatment. Complete wound healing from major surgery must have occurred 2 month before first dose and from minor surgery (e.g., simple excision, tooth extraction) at least 10 days before first dose. Subjects with clinically relevant ongoing complications from prior surgery are not eligible.
  • Corrected QT interval calculated by the Fridericia formula (QTcF) > 500 ms per electrocardiogram (ECG) within 28 days before first dose of study treatment [add reference for Fridericia formula]. For patients with a bundle branch block the QTcR will be calculated as based on study by Rataharju PM et al. Am J Cardiol 2004;93:1017-1021(see local site documents in ePRTCL). If QTcR is > 500 ms the patient will be eligible for the study.
    • Note: If a single ECG shows a QTcF with an absolute value > 500 ms, two additional ECGs at intervals of approximately 3 min must be performed within 30 min after the initial ECG, and the average of these three consecutive results for QTcF will be used to determine eligibility.
  • Pregnant or lactating females.
  • Inability to swallow tablets.
  • Previously identified allergy or hypersensitivity to components of the study treatment formulations.
  • Diagnosis of another malignancy within 2 years before first dose of study treatment, except for superficial skin cancers, or localized, low grade tumors deemed cured and not treated with systemic therapy. Patients with Gleason 6 (3+3) prostate cancer with previous treatment or on active surveillance may also be allowed on protocol.
  • The subject requires chronic concomitant treatment with strong CYP3A4 inducers (e.g., dexamethasone, phenytoin, carbamazepine, rifampin, rifabutin, rifapentine, phenobarbital, and St. John’s Wort).

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact the study team for the most up-to-date information regarding possible participation.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Lance Pagliaro, M.D.

Closed for enrollment

Contact information:

Cancer Center Clinical Trials Referral Office

(855) 776-0015

More information


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