Upcoming event

Phase 3 LITESPARK-022: Pembrolizumab (pembro) plus hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF-2α) inhibitor belzutifan as adjuvant treatment for clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC)

  • Toni K. Choueiri,
  • Jens Bedke,
  • Jose A. Karam,
  • Rana R. McKay,
  • Robert J. Motzer,
  • Sumanta Monty Pal,
  • Cristina Suárez,
  • Robert Uzzo,
  • Hong Liu,
  • Joseph E. Burgents,
  • Manish Sharma,
  • Thomas Powles

Research Funding

Pharmaceutical/Biotech Company
Merck Sharp & Dohme LLC, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc., Rahway, NJ, USA


Treatment with the PD-1 inhibitor pembro produced significant improvement in disease-free survival after surgery for patients (pts) with ccRCC in the phase 3 KEYNOTE-564 trial. Based on these results, pembro was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency for adjuvant treatment of pts with RCC at increased risk of recurrence following nephrectomy or following nephrectomy and resection of metastatic lesions. Despite advances in the treatment landscape for RCC, more effective adjuvant treatment strategies are needed for pts at risk of recurrence after surgery. HIF-2α is an established oncogenic driver in ccRCC, and promising antitumor activity in advanced ccRCC and von Hippel-Lindau disease–associated RCC has been demonstrated with the HIF-2α inhibitor belzutifan. The multicenter, double-blind, randomized, phase 3 LITESPARK-022 study (NCT05239728) will evaluate the efficacy and safety of pembro plus belzutifan compared with placebo plus pembro as adjuvant treatment following nephrectomy in pts with ccRCC.


Key eligibility criteria include adults with histologically or cytologically confirmed intermediate-high risk, high risk, or M1 with no evidence of disease (NED) RCC with a clear cell component; pts with no prior systemic therapy, nephrectomy, and/or metastasectomy ≤12 weeks before randomization; and pts who are tumor free per computed tomography/magnetic resonance imaging. Approximately 1600 pts will be randomly assigned to receive belzutifan 120 mg orally once daily plus pembro 400 mg intravenously (IV) every 6 weeks (Q6W) for ≤9 administrations (~54 weeks) or oral placebo plus pembro 400 mg IV Q6W for ≤9 administrations (~54 weeks) or until verified disease recurrence by blinded independent central review, start of new anticancer treatment, unacceptable toxicity, or decision to withdraw. Stratification factors are tumor grade (1 or 2 vs 3 or 4) and risk type (intermediate-high risk versus high risk versus M1 NED). Pts will be radiologically evaluated Q12W from randomization through year 2, Q16W in years 3 to 5, and Q24W in years 6 and beyond. Adverse events will be monitored throughout the study and for 30 days following cessation of study treatment (90 days for serious adverse events). The primary end point is disease-free survival. Secondary end points include overall survival, safety, disease recurrence–specific survival, and patient-reported outcomes. Recruitment is underway in Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America. © 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. Reused with permission. This abstract was accepted and previously presented at the 2022 ASCO Annual Meeting. All rights reserved. Clinical trial information: NCT05239728.