Targeted therapy for advanced kidney cancer
This is a type of drug treatment that attacks specific features of cancer cells to stop the cancer growing and spreading.
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The main groups of targeted therapy drugs for advanced kidney cancer are tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) and mTOR inhibitors. These drugs can get inside cancer cells and block certain enzymes and proteins that tell cancer cells to grow, multiply and spread.
Targeted therapy drugs are usually used as the first treatment for advanced kidney cancer (first-line treatment).
Kidney cancer often stops responding to particular targeted therapy drugs. If this happens, your doctor will usually suggest another targeted therapy drug or immunotherapy combination. Research shows that having targeted therapy drugs together with immunotherapy has led to better response rates in certain people.
tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs)
|How they work||drugs block a group of enzymes called tyrosine kinases from sending signals that tell cancer cells to grow; without this signal, the cancer cells die||drugs block the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), an enzyme that tells cancer cells to grow and spread|
|When they are used||approved for use for some types of advanced kidney cancer||approved for use for some types of advanced kidney cancer that have not responded to TKIs|
|How they are given||taken as daily tablet; often given in repeating cycles, with rest periods in-between; some may be taken for many months or even years||taken as daily tablet; may be taken for many months or even years; may be given alone or with a TKI|
|Examples (may also be known by their brand name)||sunitinib, pazopanib, cabozantinib, sorafenib, axitinib, lenvatinib||everolimus|
|Side effects||fatigue, mouth ulcers, changes in appetite, fevers, allergic reactions, skin rashes, diarrhoea, blood-clotting issues, blood pressure changes||diarrhoea, fatigue, skin rash, mouth sores, high blood sugar|
For more on this, see our general section on Targeted therapy.
It’s important to discuss any side effects of targeted therapy or immunotherapy drugs with your medical team as soon as they appear, so they can be managed appropriately. Early treatment is likely to shorten the length of time a side effect lasts.
Video: What is targeted therapy?
If you have cancer, drug therapy may play a big role in your treatment plan. Watch this short video to learn more about drug therapies, including targeted therapy and immunotherapy.
Podcast: Immunotherapy & Targeted Therapy
A/Prof Daniel Moon, Urologic Surgeon, Australian Urology Associates, and Honorary Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Polly Baldwin, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Ian Basey, Consumer; Gregory Bock, Urology Cancer Nurse Coordinator, WA Cancer and Palliative Care Network, North Metropolitan Health Service, WA; Tina Forshaw, Advanced Practice Nurse Urology, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Dr Suki Gill, Radiation Oncologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, WA; Karen Walsh, Nurse Practitioner, Urology Services, St Vincents Private Hospital Northside, QLD; Dr Alison Zhang, Medical Oncologist, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Macquarie University Hospital, NSW.
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