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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 167-176

Role of surgery in advanced/metastatic renal cell carcinoma

Department of Urology, Medical College, Kottayam-686 008, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Suresh Bhat
Medical College, Kottayam, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.65381

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Metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) is a malignant disease without curative treatment. These patients are usually symptomatic and desperate for effective palliative treatment. Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy are not effective in these patients. A multimodal approach consisting of cytoreductive nephrectomy, systemic therapy (which includes cytokines or targeted molecules), and metastasectomy have been shown to be useful in prolonging the survival and improving the quality of life in a select group of patients with metastatic renal cancer. Patients with oligometastatic disease, good performance status, and delayed presentation of the secondaries have better results following this integrated approach. Although there is some controversy regarding the order in which nephrectomy and systemic therapy are to be instituted, well-controlled studies like the South West Oncology Group and European organization research and treatment of cancer have shown that upfront nephrectomy gives better survival compared to neoadjuvant systemic therapy followed by nephrectomy. This order is the standard presently. Of late, with better understanding of the genetic basis and the biology of the various subtypes of renal cell carcinoma, targeted molecular therapies have emerged as an equally effective alternative therapy to cytokines. Recent reports have proven that targeted therapy is more effective with comparable side effects. Metastasectomy in a subgroup of patients improves survival and quality of life specifically in those with lung secondaries and painful bone metastases.

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