Kidney cancer is a malignant disease of this organ. It is best treated when diagnosed on time in an early stage of the disease. There are several therapeutic modalities that are applied and the stage determines which of them is going to be given. Still the best way is surgical approach and the removal of the tumor together with the surrounding tissue. Additional treatment options are then applied. However, no matter how advanced the current therapy against this deadly disease is no one can say that there is definitive cure for kidney cancer. The only goal of the therapy is to prolong remission of the disease as more as possible.
The general health of the patient influences the treatment option. So those who suffer from serious heart conditions need to be examining if certain modality wants to be applied. In these people it is risky to apply chemotherapy.
Surgery is the best therapeutic option for kidney cancer. It is conducted in early stages of the disease and may include nephrectomy, which is removal of the entire kidney and surrounding lymph nodes, or nephron-sparing surgery, which is removal of only the tumor from the affected kidney. In case of nephrectomy even adrenal gland which is situated on the upper pole of the kidney can be removed if there is a sign of its affection. Both of the surgery carries small risk of hemorrhage and infections.
In cases where surgery is not possible there are several additional treatment modalities.
The first one is embolisation. In this procedure specific material administered via injections into the main blood vessel of the kidney. It leads to limitation of oxygen supply within the very tumor. The tumor is not fed properly as well. Cryoablation is another option in which first step includes insertion of a specially designed needle into the tumor. What follows is application of a gas through a needle which finally leads to freezing of the tumor cells. And finally in radiofrequency ablation a needle is inserted directly into the kidney tumor. After releasing the electrical current the tumor cells are burnt. All of the previously mentioned procedures are applied in case patients cannot undergo the operation or in case that tumors are rather small in size.
There are additional treatment options in advanced stages of the disease and in recurrence of the tumors. They include repeated surgery and specific medications. Biological therapy uses certain medications (interferon and interleukin-2) which are using patient's immune system to fight against the tumor. The goal of target therapy is to block signals within kidney cancer cells that are responsible for cell multiplication. Some of the medications used in this purpose are bevacizumab, pazopanib, sorafenib and sunitinib. Chemotherapeutics are not used frequently only before the surgery to reduce the size of the tumor or in case of distant metastases. If cancer has spread onto the distant organs and organ systems radiotherapy or chemotherapy is optional. Even in these cases surgery is sometimes performed.
As in any other cancer there are clinical trials with new treatment modalities and new medications. They do not guarantee the cure to illness. However they are additional option when all the treatment modalities have been tried without any obvious success.