Surgery, targeted therapy, biologic therapy, chemotherapy and radiation are some of the treatments available for kidney cancer, according to Cancer.Net. The type and stage of the cancer determines which treatment options are most appropriate.
Surgery remains the first-line treatment for the majority of kidney cancers, states Mayo Clinic. Depending on the size and spread of the tumor, the affected kidney may be removed completely or just in part. Surgery may be done laparoscopically or through an open incision. For those who cannot tolerate surgery, cryoablation (the freezing of cancer cells to cause cell death) and radiofrequency ablation (the heating of cancer cells to cause cell death) are options.
Both targeted therapy and biologic therapy, also known as immunotherapy, often follows surgery for kidney cancer, notes Cancer.Net. Targeted therapies block the growth and spread of cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. For example, drugs can prevent the cancer from growing new blood vessels, starving it of the nutrients it needs to grow and spread. Biologic therapies use substances made by the body, or drugs mimicking them, to strengthen and prime the immune system so that it can fight the cancer directly. Interleukin-2 and alpha-interferon are examples of drugs that work this way.
Chemotherapy and radiation are used less frequently for kidney cancer, according to MedicineNet. These treatment modalities can be useful for reducing symptom when advanced cancer has spread or, in some cases, to shrink a large tumor before surgery.