Novel treatment strategy saves kidneys with large cancerous tumors

Moores UCSD Cancer Center is an international destination for the treatment of advanced kidney disease.

 
Moores UCSD Cancer Center is an international destination for the treatment of advanced kidney disease.

A multicentre team of investigators led by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine has demonstrated, for the first time, the safety and efficacy of a targeted medication to shrink advanced kidney cancers prior to partial kidney removal and reconstruction.

Their findings were published in the April 2010 online edition of BJU International.

''Our study offers compelling evidence that this combined medical-surgical approach for treating renal cell carcinoma both reduces the size of large kidney tumors and helps achieve kidney-preserving surgery in patients who were at high risk for end-stage kidney failure,'' said Ithaar Derweesh, MD, senior author and urologic oncologist at UC San Diego Medical Center and Moores UCSD Cancer Center.

The ability to surgically save the kidney following the destruction or removal of large tumors is challenging, yet highly desirable, in order to decrease the risk of kidney failure and protect cardiovascular health, according to UCSD researchers.

Sunitinib, a drug that blocks the formation of blood vessels to cancer cells, was administered to patients prior to surgery. While the use of this drug is well documented in medical literature prior to total kidney removal, or radical nephrectomy, this study looked at its use prior to partial kidney removal. The average tumor size before treatment was 7.1 cm. Following treatment, tumor diameter was reduced by approximately 20 percent.