The following is a summary of “Facts and Hopes for Immunotherapy in Renal Cell Carcinoma” published in the December 2022 issue of Clinical Cancer by Yao et al.

Immunotherapy has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of cancers, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and recent findings from these studies are hopeful. Researchers have known since the discovery of cytokines IFNα and IL2 that RCC is immune responsive. Despite this fact, only a very small percentage of patients have demonstrated long-lasting clinical improvement. 

Since that time, advances in the creation of new medications have led to improvements in the treatment of patients, which have ultimately revolutionized the patient outcomes. These advances have been made possible by the discovery of important tumor drivers, as well as an understanding of the impact of angiogenesis and the tumor microenvironment (TME). The combination of immunotherapy drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors and anti-angiogenic treatments is currently the treatment for cancer that is considered to be the “gold standard.” 

The selection of patients for immunotherapy combinations, the development of resistance, and the proper sequencing of treatments are now some of the most difficult problems to overcome. It is envisaged that further research into the biology of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the tumor microenvironment (TME), and mechanisms of resistance will pave the way for the creation of subsequent generations of treatments.