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Treatment Of Kidney Cancer

Treatment is tailored to the needs of the patient and this is dependent on the cancer staging in a particular patient. This way the most appropriate therapy can be chosen for the patient with the highest probability of cancer rate survival.

5-year survival rates for kidney cancer

Stage: Survival Rate: Comments:
I 85 % radical nephrectomy
II 80 % radical nephrectomy
III 50 % radical nephrectomy + radiotherapy of LN *
IV 20 % high dose IL-2 therapy
* LN stands for lymph node metastases


Here are some typical survival figures for kidney cancer. The best treatment for stage I and II is surgical removal of the affected kidney (nephrectomy). In stage III this is combined with radiotherapy of the affected lymph glands in the regional area. Once the cancer has spread beyond the kidney border, metastases threaten to kill the patient (Ref. 2).

Many different systemic therapies have been attempted in order to help the end stage patient.

However, chemotherapy only leads to a partial response for about 10 months irregardless of the agents used. Interferon has been disappointing. Another approach is the use of an immunostimulant, called interleukin-2 (IL-2). This tends to give response rates in stage IV kidney cancer patients of about 20% with cures of 5%. With cancer immunotherapy using tumor infiltrating leukocytes (TIL) amplified by IL-2 the cure rate has been observed to be as high as 30% in these patients.



1. Cancer: Principles &Practice of Oncology.4th edition. Edited by Vincent T. DeVita, Jr. et al. Lippincott, Philadelphia,PA, 1993. Chapter on Cancer of the kidney and ureter.

2. Cancer: Principles&Practice of Oncology. 5th edition, volume 1. Edited by Vincent T. DeVita, Jr. et al. Lippincott-Raven Publ., Philadelphia,PA, 1997. Chapter on Cancer of the kidney and ureter.

3. D Baris et al. Am J Ind Med 2001 May;39(5):463-476.

4. A Heiser et al. Cancer Res 2001 Apr 15;61(8):3388-3393.

5. A Gati et al. Cancer Res 2001 Apr 15;61(8):3240-3244.

6. P Lissoni et al. Anticancer Res 2001 Jan-Feb;21(1B):777-779.

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9. Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

10. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc

11. Suzanne Somers: “Breakthrough” Eight Steps to Wellness– Life-altering Secrets from Today’s Cutting-edge Doctors”, Crown Publishers, 2008

Last modified: August 29, 2014

This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.