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Treatments for kidney cancer


Treatments for kidney cancer

Kidney cancer, also known as renal cancer, is a type of cancer that starts in the cells in the kidney. The treatment options for kidney cancer depend on many conditions, including the general health of the patient, the size of the tumor, where it is in the kidney, whether it has spread to other parts of the body and so on. There are some treatments for kidney cancer, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy, and molecular targeted therapy. 


Thanks to the advancement and popularity of imaging techniques, kidney cancer can be detected at an early stage, thus contributing to a higher cure rate of kidney cancer. Surgery is the major treatment for kidney cancer that has not spread to other parts of the body. Sometimes, patients with advanced kidney cancer can also be advised to receive surgery.


Chemotherapy is rarely used for the treatment of kidney cancer because kidney cancer is highly resistant to chemotherapeutic drugs and hormones. Patients with kidney cancer after chemotherapy often have some physical reactions that pose adverse impacts on the health of patients. The symptoms may include nausea and vomiting, even severely, hyperemia edema and ulceration.


Kidney cancer is not sensitive to radiotherapy as well. At present, it is only used as an adjunctive therapy and is given to patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma who cannot receive surgery. Radiotherapy can relieve local pain, hematuria and renal toxicity.


Some clinical situations indicate the importance of the immune system in curbing the progression of renal cell carcinoma, which gives reason to the possible application of immunotherapy in kidney cancer. The immunotherapy was put into the application for kidney cancer since the 1980s and IFN (interferon) and IL-2 (interleukin-2), which can enhance the activities of lymphocytes and natural killer (NK) cells, are most widely used in clinical practices. The anti-tumor effect of IFN is mainly related to its inhibition of angiogenesis and cell proliferation. Also, the inhibitory properties of IFN-α and IFN-β on angiogenesis have been confirmed by scientists.

Molecular targeted therapy

Molecular targeted therapy is an emerging treatment for advanced renal cancer in recent years. Currently, FDA-approved drugs have gained preliminary results in the treatment of renal cancer in clinical trials, confirming that molecular targeted therapy can be used as first-line treatment for some cases.

The anti-angiogenic small molecule drugs approved by the FDA for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma include Sorafenib, Sunitinib, Pazopanib, Cabrotinib, and Levalinib. These drugs are effective against kidney cancer and oral administration is convenient to patients. But they also have some advantages, and some side effects can be life-threatening and cause potential damages to the cardiovascular system.

Though not finding the cause of many cancers, including kidney cancer, we can reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer by keeping healthy lifestyles, including keeping a healthy and balanced diet, staying away from cigarettes smoke and doing regular exercises. A regular health examination can help find kidney cancer at an early stage where patients who receive an early treatment can be easily cured.


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