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Renal Cell Cancer Treatment (PDQ®)

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Stage III Renal Cell Cancer

Stage III renal cell cancer is defined by the American Joint Committee on Cancer's TNM classification system:[1]

  • T1 or T2, N1, M0
  • T3, N0 or N1, M0

Treatment information for patients whose disease has the following classification:

  • T3a, N0, M0

Radical resection is the accepted, often curative, therapy for stage III renal cell cancer. The operation includes removal of the kidney, adrenal gland, perirenal fat, and Gerota fascia, with or without a regional lymph node dissection.[2] Lymphadenectomy is commonly employed, but its effectiveness has not been definitively proven. External-beam radiation therapy (EBRT) has been given before or after nephrectomy without conclusive evidence that this improves survival when compared with the results of surgery alone; however, it may be of benefit in selected patients with more extensive tumors. In patients who are not candidates for surgery, arterial embolization can provide palliation. In patients with bilateral stage T3a neoplasms (concurrent or subsequent), bilateral partial nephrectomy or unilateral partial nephrectomy with contralateral radical nephrectomy, when technically feasible, may be a preferred alternative to bilateral nephrectomy with dialysis or transplantation.[3]

Treatment information for patients whose disease has the following classification:

  • T3b, N0, M0

Radical resection is the accepted, often curative, therapy for this stage of renal cell cancer. The operation includes removal of the kidney, adrenal gland, perirenal fat, and Gerota fascia, with or without a regional lymph node dissection. Lymphadenectomy is commonly employed, but its effectiveness has not been definitively proven. Surgery is extended to remove the entire renal vein and caval thrombus and a portion of the vena cava as necessary.[4] EBRT has been given before or after nephrectomy without conclusive evidence that this improves survival when compared with the results of surgery alone; however, it may be of benefit in selected patients with more extensive tumors. In patients who are not candidates for surgery, arterial embolization can provide palliation. In patients with stage T3b neoplasms who manifest concurrent or subsequent renal cell carcinoma in the contralateral kidney, a partial nephrectomy, when technically feasible, may be a preferred alternative to bilateral nephrectomy with dialysis or transplantation.[3,5,6]

Treatment information for patients whose disease has the following classifications:

  • T1, N1, M0
  • T2, N1, M0
  • T3, N1, M0
  • T3a, N1, M0
  • T3b, N1, M0
  • T3c, N1, M0

This stage of renal cell cancer is curable with surgery in a small minority of cases. A radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection is necessary. The value of preoperative and postoperative EBRT has not been demonstrated, but EBRT may be used for palliation in patients who are not candidates for surgery. Arterial embolization of the tumor with gelfoam or other materials may be employed preoperatively to reduce blood loss at nephrectomy or for palliation in patients with inoperable disease.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Radical nephrectomy with renal vein and, as necessary, vena caval resection (for T3b tumors).[4] Radical nephrectomy with lymph node dissection.
  2. Preoperative embolization and radical nephrectomy.[7,8]
  3. EBRT (palliative).[7]
  4. Tumor embolization (palliative).[8]
  5. Palliative nephrectomy.
  6. Preoperative or postoperative EBRT and radical nephrectomy.[7]
  7. Clinical trials involving adjuvant interferon-alpha.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III renal cell cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.

References

  1. Kidney. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 479-89.
  2. Phillips E, Messing EM: Role of lymphadenectomy in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. Urology 41 (1): 9-15, 1993. [PUBMED Abstract]
  3. Novick AC, Streem S, Montie JE, et al.: Conservative surgery for renal cell carcinoma: a single-center experience with 100 patients. J Urol 141 (4): 835-9, 1989. [PUBMED Abstract]
  4. Hatcher PA, Anderson EE, Paulson DF, et al.: Surgical management and prognosis of renal cell carcinoma invading the vena cava. J Urol 145 (1): 20-3; discussion 23-4, 1991. [PUBMED Abstract]
  5. deKernion JB: Management of renal adenocarcinoma. In: deKernion JB, Paulson DF, eds.: Genitourinary Cancer Management. Philadelphia, Pa: Lea and Febiger, 1987, pp 187-217.
  6. Angermeier KW, Novick AC, Streem SB, et al.: Nephron-sparing surgery for renal cell carcinoma with venous involvement. J Urol 144 (6): 1352-5, 1990. [PUBMED Abstract]
  7. deKernion JB, Berry D: The diagnosis and treatment of renal cell carcinoma. Cancer 45 (7 Suppl): 1947-56, 1980. [PUBMED Abstract]
  8. Swanson DA, Wallace S, Johnson DE: The role of embolization and nephrectomy in the treatment of metastatic renal carcinoma. Urol Clin North Am 7 (3): 719-30, 1980. [PUBMED Abstract]
  • Updated: December 5, 2014