Hormone Therapy to Treat Kidney Cancer

Agents such as estrogen, progesterone, and tamoxifen have been used with varying degrees of success to stop some types of cancer from growing. There is little evidence, however, that hormone therapy, either primary or adjuvant, is effective when used to treat RCC. Some recent studies show success rates of 5% to 10%. At best, it remains a subject for future research.

Biological Therapy to Treat Kidney Cancer

Over the last several years, there has been much interest in the use of biological agents—primarily interleukin and interferon—to boost, restore, or direct the patient's immune system to fight RCC in the same way it fights an infection. There are data to suggest that these agents effectively treat this disease and can at times produce complete remissions. Both interleukin and interferon are approved by the FDA for treating metastatic RCC.

Chemobiological Therapy to Treat Kidney Cancer

Some recent studies suggest that combining biological therapy with chemotherapy (chemobiological) therapy produces significantly higher response rates than biological therapy alone, although the data need to be confirmed in a larger study.

The side effects of chemobiological therapy include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Fluid retention and associated weight gain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Renal and liver failure
  • Risk of infection and bleeding
  • Skin rash

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Jun 1998

Last Modified: 22 Sep 2015