Future kidney cancer treatments show promise (w/VIDEO)

December 20, 2013 | by Denise Heady

Treatments for kidney cancer have improved dramatically over the past few years — particularly for renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer. And the future looks bright as well.
kidneys Treatment for cancer of the kidneys (shown here) is improving, with more advances expected.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved seven new drugs for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma, especially significant because it approved only one drug between 1992 and 2005. Further, targeted therapies are improving standard care for patients with the disease, and several promising studies could lead to new treatment advances. Sumanta Kumar Pal, M.D., co-director of the Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, summed up the field in a recent interview with OncLive. “This is so incredibly promising for patients and their families,” he said of the recent developments. But, as with most cancer treatments, new, innovative approaches are always needed.“What I think the field is really lacking is that there are no novel approaches,” Pal said in the interview. “So I’m really looking for trials with PD-1 inhibitors, PD-L1 inhibitors, and novel dual-targeting agents such as cabozantinib to really reshape the treatment paradigm for this disease.”  
Sumanta Kumar Pal Sumanta Kumar Pal
PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors are "drugs that work at the interface between immune-based cells, called T-cells, as well as the cancer cell," Pal explained in an earlier blog post. "Essentially, they stimulate the body’s own immune response to fight cancer." PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors are also being studied for possible use against other cancer types, such as lung cancer and melanoma. “It [PD-1 inhibitor] resembles, at least some extent, the CTLA-4 blockade that occurs with ipilimumab or tremelimumab, both of which have demonstrated some efficacy in the setting of melanoma,” Pal said in the OncLive interview. Then there are the current clinical trials exploring adjuvant therapy for renal cell carcinoma. Adjuvant therapy is typically used as a secondary treatment to prevent any new metastatic cancer growths. “At this point in time, adjuvant therapy is really not a standard of care for localized renal cell carcinoma,” Pal told OncLive. “However, there are several studies that are potentially going to put these agents into that disease space.” In the video below, Pal discusses adjuvant therapy for renal cell carcinoma and the potential of the current clinical trials.    
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