In patients who cannot undergo surgery, smaller renal cancers can be treated by ablative techniques, using thin needles placed into the tumor through the skin. The needles destroy the cancer cells using heat (radiofrequency or microwave ablation) or freezing (cryotherapy), and are removed at the end of the procedure.
New Drug Combinations
To boost the effectiveness of existing FDA-approved drugs, we have several clinical research protocols underway, including:
- Combining high-dose Interleukin-2 (IL-2) with entinostat, an HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor: After positive results in laboratory studies, this National Cancer Institute-sponsored trial adds entinostat, which modulates immune response, to IL-2 in the hope of boosting the 15 to 20 percent response rate seen with IL-2 alone.
- Adding an anticoagulant to sunitinib:This study looks at the effect of combining sunitinib, an FDA-approved drug for kidney cancer that inhibits the formation of new blood vessels, to the tumor, and the anticoagulant heparin. Coagulation is part of the mechanism for forming new blood vessels and metastases, and it is hoped that the combination will improve the success of these drugs.
- Combining an HDAC and an mTOR inhibitor: Based on promising results in animal studies, the combination aims to reduce blood flow and inhibit tumor growth in patients with advanced disease who have been treated already with FDA-approved sunitinib.
Novel Approaches to Radiation
Dr. Singh explains how high doses of radiation activate the immune system to kill kidney cancer.
- Researchers are currently evaluating the immune response that occurs during Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) treatment. When a large number of cells die at once from radiation, they cause the blood vessels feeding the tumor to collapse. A massive die-off of cells by radiation invokes the immune system to respond, triggering another mechanism for immunotherapy, at least in theory.
- A recent study examines whether SBRT radiation performed prior to surgery will allow surgeons to more easily remove tumors.
In the Pipeline and Under Study
We maintain one of the first Clinical Research Centers in the nation that focuses specifically on the development of new cancer treatments, giving patients access to the newest drugs and opportunities to be among the first to benefit from cutting-edge treatments and new protocols. Clinical research trials are now available to patients with all stages of kidney cancer. Search online for available clinical research studies for kidney cancer at Roswell Park, or call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724).