Current Status and Future Directions of Immunotherapy in Renal Cell Carcinoma

  • Bryden Considine
  • Michael E. HurwitzEmail author
Genitourinary Cancers (DP Petrylak and JW Kim, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Genitourinary Cancers


Purpose of Review

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) was recognized as an immunologically sensitive cancer over 30 years ago. The first therapies to affect the course of RCC were cytokines (interferon alfa-2B and interleukin-2). Subsequently, drugs that inhibit HIF (hypoxia-inducible factor)/VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor) signaling demonstrated overall survival advantages (tyrosine kinase inhibitors and mTor inhibitors).

Recent Findings

In the last 3 years, the immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) have become the standard of care treatments in the first and second lines for RCC. Emerging data show that combinations of ICI, HIF signaling inhibitors, and cytokines are potentially powerful regimens.


How to combine and sequence these types of therapies and how to integrate new approaches into the management of RCC are now the key questions for the field. Treatment of RCC is likely to change dramatically in the next few years.


Renal cell carcinoma Immune checkpoint inhibitor Interleukin-2 mTor inhibitor Hypoxia-inducible factor VEGF receptor CTLA-4 PD-1 PD-L1 Cytoreductive nephrectomy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Bryden Considine declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Michael E. Hurwitz declares the following disclosures: (1) Advisory Boards/Consulting: Nektar Therapeutics, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, CRISPR Therapeutics; (2) Research: Apexigen, Astellas, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Bristol Myer Squibb, Clovis, Corvus, Eli Lilly, Endocyte, Genentech, Genmab, Innocrin, Iovance, MedImmune, Merck, Nektar Therapeutics, Novartis, Pfizer, Progenics, Roche Laboratories, Sanofi Aventis, Seattle Genetics; and (3) Other: Gamida Cell.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Yale Comprehensive Cancer CenterNew HavenUSA

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