When cancer spreads beyond the kidney and infects other organs it is called as advanced kidney cancer. One of the reasons for spreading could be the minimal symptoms and signs of kidney cancer that showed. Once cancer spreads to other organs, the best metastatic kidney cancer treatment is by controlling cancer by slowing down the spread and managing its symptoms. A combination of many a different treatment for kidney cancer may be recommended but it may vary for each patient.
The most effective way of treating an advanced kidney cancer is targeted therapy. Other treatments include immune therapy and radiotherapy. Targeted therapy works opposite to a chemotherapy. Chemotherapy affects all cancerous cells and stops them from dividing. A targeted therapy targets a specific molecule within a cell and works by clocking the growth of the cell. Most of the targeted therapies are in the form of pills that can be taken at home. Cancer cells become immune to a particular targeted therapy over a period of time hence it is best to combine the treatment.
Following are the types of targeted therapy:
- Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI): TKIs block the function of a group of enzymes called tyrosine kinases that decide the vascular endothelial growth. For a tumor to grow, it has to form its own blood vessels called as angiogenesis. TKIs block the process of angiogenesis as a result of which the blood supply to the cancer cells are cut off and cancer fails to spread. Sunitinib, pazopanib, sorafenib, and Axitinib are some of the most effective TKIs for treating advanced kidney cancer.
- Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors: mTOR enzyme promotes the growth of cancer cells. mTOR inhibitors block these enzymes thus stopping the growth of cancer cells. Everolimus is an effective mTOR inhibitor that is used for treating advanced kidney cancer, but it is used only if the TKIs fail in controlling the growth of the cancerous cells.
Although targeted therapy does minimal damage to healthy cells, one cannot completely say that it is free from any side effects. The side effects depend on the type of drug used for the treatment. Some of the common side effects are fatigue, mouth ulcers, fevers, allergic reactions, stomach upset, lack of appetite, blood pressure changes and many more.