Nephrectomy continues to be the cornerstone of treatment for localized renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Despite undergoing nephrectomy, recurrence of disease remains a concern in many patients, and different medical therapies are being investigated as means to decrease this risk. The use of the traditional immunotherapy options has not provided benefit as adjuvant treatment in this disease state. Recently, the treatment of metastatic RCC has experienced key advances with the introduction of targeted agents against the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) molecule and related pathways as well as inhibitors of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), in addition to improvements in surgical technique. Additionally, there are questions about the optimal timing of systemic therapy in the context of high risk non-metastatic disease. There is optimism that locally advanced RCC might benefit from adjuvant or neoadjuvant treatment with these therapies. Ongoing clinical trials are addressing the role of targeted agents in this disease state.
Keywords: Renal cell carcinoma, molecularly targeted therapy, adjuvant therapy, nephrectomy, toxicity, sunitinib, pazopanib, sorafenib, monoclonal antibody, immunotherapy
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