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Cytoreductive Nephrectomy Retains Role in Modern RCC Era

Caroline Seymour
Published: Friday, Mar 09, 2018

James Wysock, MD

James Wysock, MD
The primary research focus in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) may be on targeted and immunotherapy developments, but cytoreductive nephrectomy continues to be an effective treatment in patients with localized disease, says James Wysock, MD, adding that the approach could potentially be used to improve patient outcomes in advanced or metastatic disease.

State of the Science Summit™ on Genitourinary Cancers, Wysock, who is chief of the urology service at NYC Health and Hospitals at Bellevue, and assistant professor in the Department of Urology, NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, discussed the evolution of cytoreductive nephrectomy in RCC.

OncLive: Please provide an overview of your presentation.

Wysock: I spoke about cytoreductive nephrectomy in what we call the modern era. Cytoreductive nephrectomy is a way of removing the tumor and taking out most of the cancer with the understanding that some will remain. Cytoreductive nephrectomy has been shown in a couple very well-designed and executed studies to improve OS. I addressed how that plays into the new era of targeted therapies, and I touched on how it may influence future management as the new generation of immunotherapy and immune checkpoint inhibitors start to enter the arena of RCC. 

What role does nephrectomy play in a landscape that already has several systemic agents?

Nephrectomy is the mainstay of local RCC treatment, but when we are talking about advanced or metastatic disease, the paradigm is still to include cytoreductive nephrectomy in the management. The question to ask is, “Who is the correct patient [for it]?” There's not as much data to determine whether targeted therapies or immune checkpoint inhibitors would have the same result, but there are early data to suggest that they’re providing similar OS benefits. There is a whole new realm of neoadjuvant treatments with these therapies that may also open up new avenues of therapy for patients with disease that may appear to be unresectable, but can be resectable. Similarly, diseases that may be complex to manage with a partial nephrectomy and a neoadjuvant treatment regimen can be supplemented with a nephron-sparing approach.

What emerging techniques are there in the field?

We have been employing and increasing our use of robotics and minimally invasive approaches toward managing more advanced disease around the kidney. We are taking on the more complex partial nephrectomies with robotic and minimally invasive approaches, but in the setting of a cytoreductive nephrectomy and an inferior vena cava tumor thrombus for an advanced disease. That’s a realm in which there are more options for using robotic and minimally invasive approaches. This offers a lower morbidity for the patients. Some of the poorer-risk patients who would ordinarily get supportive care may be candidates for these minimally invasive, cytoreductive treatments.

What are some of the challenges or unanswered questions we have with cytoreductive nephrectomy?

The crux of the question is whether or not it works in the current treatment paradigm. We believe it does, but there are 2 ongoing trials—the SURTIME and the CARMENA prospective randomized trials using sunitinib that are trying to answer whether or not cytoreductive nephrectomy will show the same OS benefit in this setting. They have had a lot of trouble accruing patients, and they're about 6 years behind their originally designed endpoint.
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