TREATMENT of metastatic kidney cancer using a focussed therapy known as stereotactic ablative radiation has been shown to result in >90% control of metastases in a recent study. The trial, conducted at the Kidney Cancer Program, Simmons Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA, indicated that stereotactic ablative radiation therapy may be a suitable option in lieu of conventional treatments and may also offer patients who are unsuitable for surgery a viable alternative, due to the number and location of metastases.
Systemic therapy, such as immunotherapy or targeted drugs, is the standard of care for metastatic renal cell carcinoma; however, this usually leads to significant adverse events including lethargy, hypertension, and rash. In comparison, this study suggests that stereotactic ablative radiation therapy could allow patients a better quality of life as it could potentially be used to delay or avoid systemic therapy and the associated adverse events.
Dr Raquibul Hannan, Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and co-leader of the Kidney Cancer Programme explained: “This study shows that stereotactic radiation provides a good non-invasive alternative to conventional treatment and that it effectively controls the disease.” He continued: “It may also offer an alternative to patients who are not candidates for surgery due to the number and location of the metastases.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly 400,000 Americans have been diagnosed with kidney cancer and >60,000 new diagnoses are predicted this year. Five-year survival averages for Stage 4 cancer are 8%. Interestingly, at the UT Southwestern Kidney Cancer Program, 5-year survival rates for Stage 4 patients are double national benchmarks.
Dr James Brugarolas, Associate Professor of Internal Medicine, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and leader of the Kidney Cancer Program commented on the usefulness of the study from a healthcare professional’s perspective: “This study, which represents, possibly, the largest experience reported in the medical literature, may also help medical oncologists, since stereotactic radiation could be used for patients who have limited sites of progression while receiving systemic therapy.”