Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Non-Surgical Treatment Options are primarily reserved as a method of last resort for Patients with Advanced Stage Renal Cancer. This is because the Kidneys, as part of their normal function, flush away impurities in the blood, including pharmaceuticals; therefore, drugs have only been shown to prolong life for only a short time. Stage III or Stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma are termed Advanced Stage Renal Cancer. For these patients, the Cancer has already metastasized either Regionally or Distantly. As a result, Active Surveillance and Surgical Treatment Options will not work and Non-Surgical Treatment Options must be explored as a last resort option.
Non-Surgical Treatment Options largely center around palliative care and treatment via experimental drug therapies. To date, there are seven drugs that are cleared for use by the FDA for Renal Cell Carcinoma. These drugs typically work via targeting VEGF Receptors or VEGF Antibody. VEGF is an acronym for Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).
All Tumors need blood to survive and grow. VEGF is a naturally-occurring protein in the body that stimulates the growth of new blood vessels. By targeting this VEGF protein, these drugs help slow the growth of new blood vessels to the Tumor.
Unfortunately, the growth of blood vessels is also part of the body's normal healing and maintenance processes for the remainder of the body. As a result, the most common patient complications of these Anti-VEGF drugs are hypertension and high blood pressure. This is because there are less blood vessels growing throughout the body.
Guidelines for Drug Therapy
For Stage III patients, drug therapy may be able to stem the further growth or reduce the risk of further metastasis to more distant locations. In certain cases, this may lead to a possibility to excise the Tumor at a later time. For Stage IV patients, the primary benefit from these drugs has shown to prolong life by approximately 4 to 6 months, but not kill the Cancer. Still, VEGF inhibitors may present the best option for some patients.
Video: Treatment for Advanced Renal Cancer
Dr Robert Motzer
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
New York, NY
The following resources also provide good information for patients that require advanced care:
- Stage III Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Management Options for Stage III Renal Cancer
- Targeted Therapy for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Radical Nephrectomy with IVC Thrombectomy
- Current Clinical Trials for Stage III Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Stage IV and Recurrent Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Current Clinical Trials for Stage IV Renal Cell Carcinoma
- Current Clinical Trials for Recurrent Renal Cancer
- Renal Failure: End-Stage Renal Disease
- MediCare & MedicAid: End-Stage Renal Disease Center