Drug Therapies for Kidney Cancer

There are many FDA-approved targeted therapies and immunotherapies, as well as combinations that combine both. Your doctor will review your tests, staging and history, and discuss the treatment options that are appropriate for you.

Which drug therapy is right for me?

Below are resources for treatment that may be recommended based on your tumor stage and health status.

ADJUVANT THERAPY

Often given when the patient may be at high risk for a disease recurrence, even after the tumor and/or affected kidney have been surgically removed.

Options for Advanced Kidney Cancer

When kidney cancer has spread to other organs, the cancer is usually not completely curable. The goal of treatment is therefore to make life as long and as normal as possible. Combinations of different treatments may be recommended to control or diminish the cancer.

Options for first line treatments for advanced kidney cancer

What are my choices and how do we select a therapy? Most patients start with a combination of two immunotherapies (IO/IO) or a TKI (tyrosine kinase inhibitor, a targeted cancer therapy) combined with an immunotherapy. Learn more about your options for your first line of treatment with the useful discussions from CURE TODAY.

Targeted therapy and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs) Combinations

Learn more about TKI/Immunotherapy combinations as a first line treatment or in later lines by clicking the link below.

Dual Immunotherapy

Learn more about IO/IO combinations (also called dual immunotherapy or dual checkpoint inhibition) as a first line treatment or in later lines.

Targeted Therapy Drugs

Targeted therapy drugs precisely identify and inhibit certain  cancer cells. A targeted therapy can be used by itself or in combination with other treatments.

Immunotherapy and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors (ICIs)

An important part of the immune system is its ability to attack pathogens and cancer cells, but ignore healthy normal cells in the body. To do this, it uses “checkpoints,” which are proteins on immune cells that keep them inactivated and need to be disabled to start an immune response. Kidney cancer cells sometimes hijack these checkpoints to evade the immune system. But these drugs disable the checkpoint proteins, helping to reinvigorate the immune response against the cancer cells.

IO/IO also known as Dual checkpoint inhibition

The current standard of care for kidney cancer are combinations of two drugs that have demonstrated greater efficacy than treatment with a single agent. There are multiple FDA approved TKI/IO combinations that your medical oncologist can help explaining the differences and which might be best for your disease.

We currently only have one FDA approved combination of two immunotherapy drugs (IO/IO) but others are being tested in clinical trials.

TKI / IO
Axitinib (Inlyta) + Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)

TKI / IO
Cabozantinib (Cabometyx)+Nivolumab (Opdivo)

TKI / IO
Lenvatinib (Lenvima) +Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)

TKI / IO
Axitinib (Inlyta) + Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)

I had more than one choice as a suggested treatment. How do I get ready to give my input?

IKCC and KidneyCAN patients and their families have an essential role to play in healthcare decisions that affect their lives. The IKCC shared decision aid series is written for people with kidney cancer, their caregivers and families. The booklets are written by a team of patients, patient advocates and medical professionals.

One of my choices was a clinical trial. I want to learn more before I decide.

Clinical trials are research studies that involve people. Any time you or a loved one need treatment for cancer, clinical trials are an option to think about. Learning all you can about clinical trials can help you talk with your doctor and decide what is right for you.

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