V. Kruse MD, PhD, N. Lumen MD, PhD, F. D’Hondt MD, PhD, S. Rottey MD, PhD
Renal cell carcinoma is a common malignancy affecting men and women sporadically or as part of an inherited syndrome. Upregulation of VEGF and other growth factors due to accumulation of HIF in combination with an activation of the mTOR pathway are known to be important parts of the pathogenesis. These signaling pathways are therapeutic targets of monoclonal antibodies, small-molecules kinase inhibitors (TKI’s) and mTOR-pathway inhibitors and currently constitute the mainstay of metastatic RCC treatment. During the last decade, treatment options for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma, a disease resistant to cytotoxic chemotherapy, have improved significantly with increasing survival rates. Several clinical trials are ongoing and new results are expected in the coming years. In Belgium, three TKI’s, two mTOR-inhibitors and one anti-VEGF monoclonal antibody in combination with IFN-α are reimbursed for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma. Sunitinib can be administered in first line and everolimus from second line on to patients with low- or intermediate risk disease. Therapy with bevacizumab/IFN-α is an alternative first line option. Temsirolimus is an option in first line for patients with high risk disease. Sorafenib has shown positive results in patients pretreated with cytokines. Recently, pazopanib has become available as a first line treatment for patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.