Treatments Differ in Rare Versus More Common Kidney Cancers

November 6, 2020
Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD

Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD, discusses how the treatments and outcomes differ between patients with the rarer disease of renal medullary carcinoma than the more common renal cell carcinoma.

Pavlos Msaouel, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology, Division of Cancer Medicine at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses how the treatments and outcomes differ between patients with the rarer disease of renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) than the more common renal cell carcinoma (RCC).

Often times, the treatments used for more common kidney cancers, such as clear cell RCC, are not as effective or not effective at all in a disease like RMC. Msaouel says that targeted therapies like oral tyrosine kinase inhibitors that are used for clear cell RCC have no efficacy for patients with RMC. The treatments usually utilized for this population are cytotoxic chemotherapies, which produce responses of 20% to 40%. However, in clear cell RCC, the responses to cytotoxic chemotherapy is 0%.

Even with cytotoxic chemotherapy, the median overall survival for patients with RMC was only 13 months from diagnosis, according to a multicenter retrospective analysis published about 3 years ago. Msaouel feels that this is a very short time for patients who are in a younger age group, of which many have RMC, and the researchers in this setting need to focus on improving better treatment.