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Renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) is one of the most aggressive renal cell carcinomas. It predominantly afflicts young adults and adolescents with sickle cell trait and other sickle hemoglobinopathies, and is refractory to targeted and antiangiogenic therapies used in patients with clear-cell renal cell carcinoma. Platinum-based cytotoxic chemotherapy is the mainstay for RMC treatment. On the basis of recent advances in the diagnosis, management, and clinical trial development for RMC, a panel of experts met in October 2017 and developed updated consensus recommendations to inform clinicians, researchers, and patients. Because RMC often aggressively recurs while patients are still recovering from nephrectomy, upfront chemotherapy should be considered for most patients, including those with localized disease. After safety and dosing information has been established in adults, phase II and III trials enrolling patients with RMC should allow patients aged 12 years and older to be accrued. Patients with the very rare unclassified renal cell carcinoma with medullary phenotype variant should be included in RMC trials. Medical providers should be aware that RMC can afflict subjects of all races, and not only those of African descent, and that the presence of sickle cell trait, or of other sickle hemoglobinopathies, can affect drug responses and toxicity.
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