PURPOSE OF REVIEW - This review focuses on recent developments in the biology and clinical therapeutics of renal cell carcinoma. Given historically limited advances in this disease, a more thorough understanding and testing of rationally targeted agents is needed.
RECENT FINDINGS - Von Hippel-Lindau gene inactivation is observed in most clear cell renal carcinoma, driving the malignant phenotype. The resulting vascular endothelial growth factor overexpression has been targeted though various approaches, with a clear signal of anti-tumor activity. In addition, immunotherapy remains a therapeutic standard in renal cell carcinoma and an area of ongoing investigation. Observation of small renal masses may represent a viable clinical option.
SUMMARY - Renal cell carcinoma has become a model disease for rationally targeted therapeutics based on significant understanding of the underlying biology. Recent advances have increased the potential for meaningful improvements in clinical outcomes for renal cell carcinoma patients.