Clinical Trials for Kidney Cancer

Executive Summary

Clinical trials are considered a better method for treating kidney cancer. The evaluation of new drugs, different combinations of treatments, new approaches to surgery, and new therapies are integrated into kidney cancer clinical trials. Volunteers or patients willing to participate in the clinical trials should communicate with their doctor and healthcare team and research expertise to make well decided informed choices regarding participating in the problem while signing informed consent. Trials are also focussing on deriving methods to manage and relieve the side effects of cancer treatments. A recent study evaluates the safety and efficacy of combining and using drugs TRC105 and axitinib instead of axitinib alone for treating metastatic or advanced renal carcinoma.

A study is analysing the potential of atezolizumab as adjuvant therapy for treating kidney cancer patients. Another study compares the efficiency of administering the drug everolimus alone or combining it with bevacizumab for treating people with advanced kidney cancer, which has not ceased to grow even post first-line therapy. A study evaluates the potential of Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy Plus Standard-of-Care (SOC) to treat advanced Renal cell carcinoma (RCC). People who take part in clinical trials of kidney cancer may withdraw their participation at any moment in time due to any personal or medical conditions. It may be because the treatment is not working or giving the desired results, including severe risks and side effects.

Clinical Trials of Kidney Cancer

Scientists and health care specialists are always looking for better strategies to treat and cure people with kidney cancer. These specialists create research studies involving volunteers, known as clinical trials, to conduct research and make scientific advances. Clinical trials evaluate and verify different new approaches, medications, or devices to treat kidney cancer or any disease condition. Every medicine or drug approved by the FDA that is presently used was tried and tested in clinical trials. 

Clinical trials can be employed for all types of kidney cancer conditions ​1​. Most clinical trials focus on experimenting with new treatment options. They learn if a new treatment strategy is safe, effective and better than the existing ones. The tests also evaluate new combinations of treatments, drugs, and other latest approaches in radiation, surgery or other treatments. Some specific studies also focus on creating unique treatment plans and medications to manage and relieve symptoms and the possible side effects (short term and long-term) of treatment.

Volunteers are required to carry out clinical trials. These people are the first to avail themselves of the new treatments and medications before making them available to the public. But since all these are new, there can be many risk factors associated with these trials. Sometimes people may experience a few to a range of side effects, and there are also chances that the new study may not become successful. People interested in joining clinical trials should talk with their doctor or healthcare team and understand all possible pros and cons of the study. This helps people to make informed well-decided choices.

CLINICAL TRIALS FOR KIDNEY CANCER

Many clinical trials are taking place to find better treatment options and techniques for kidney cancer. Trials are also focusing on deriving methods to manage and relieve the side effects of cancer treatments ​2​.

  • A recent study evaluates the safety and efficacy of combining and using drugs TRC105 and axitinib instead of axitinib alone for treating metastatic or advanced renal carcinoma.
  • A study is analysing the potential of atezolizumab as adjuvant therapy for treating kidney cancer patients. A phase 3 clinical trial is currently studying the efficacy and safety of atezolizumab in treating patients with high-risk renal cell carcinoma (RCC), whose disease condition is prone to recur post nephrectomy. 
  • It evaluates the safety and potential of drugs Sunitinib Malate and Cabozantinib-s-malate in treating patients with previously untreated, metastatic or advanced kidney cancer that has started to invade nearby lymph nodes or tissues. Both these drugs can prevent the growth of the tumour cells by blocking some enzymes essential for cell growth. However, the research continues, and it is yet to be discovered whether sunitinib malate is more effective in treating patients with kidney cancer than cabozantinib-s-malate.
  • Another study compares the efficiency of administering the drug everolimus alone or combining it with bevacizumab for treating people with advanced kidney cancer, which has not ceased to grow even post first-line therapy. Everolimus may stop tumour growth by blocking some enzymes vital for cell growth. Monoclonal antibodies, such as bevacizumab, may prevent tumour growth by blocking their ability to grow and metastasise. Studies are analysing the efficiency of combining both these kidney cancer treatment options.
  • A study evaluates the potential of Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy Plus Standard-of-Care (SOC) to treat advanced Renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
  • A study evaluates the efficiency and safety of drugs Cabozantinib (XL184) vs Everolimus in treating metastatic renal cell carcinoma. 

Many more clinical trials are taking place to treat and cure kidney cancer in the best possible manner.

JOINING A CLINICAL TRIAL

People come forward to participate in clinical trials for various reasons. Some patients consider clinical trials the best treatment option because the existing standard ones are not efficient in managing the disease condition. Hence people are often willing to try out clinical trials hoping that it will give them a better result. They join clinical trials with such hopes, even when they are uncertain about the impact of the trial.  

Other patients and volunteers join clinical trials to help the trial progress and arrive at a beneficial result. They consider it a way to contribute to kidney cancer treatment and cure. They will be aware that they may not benefit from the trial, but they participate with the hope that it will help future patients with kidney cancer. 

Clinical trials’ cost and insurance coverage can vary with the study and its location. In some cases, the costs of participating in clinical trials are reimbursed, whereas, in some others, they are not. So, people wanting to participate in clinical trials must talk with the team that carries out the research and your insurance company to learn more about costs and reimbursement.

 In some clinical trials, people express the concern that they are not given any treatment but instead a placebo. Placebo refers to a sugar pill usually combined with standard cancer treatment procedures. So, before any study involving a placebo, patients or volunteers should be well informed. 

Volunteers or patients wanting to join clinical trials must talk with their doctor/ healthcare team and research specialists to make well decided informed choices regarding participating in the trial. This is known as informed consent. 

Doctors should describe how this trial differs from the standard treatment strategy. What are the benefits and risk factors associated with this study? Explain the eligibility criteria to participate in clinical trials; what is expected of each participating person?

Eligibility criteria for clinical trials ensure that the participants are safe, bound to no ill effects, and the research is well-structured. The participant and the research team will together review these criteria.

People who take part in clinical trials may withdraw their participation at any point in time due to any personal or medical conditions. It may be because the treatment is not working or giving the desired results, including severe risks and side effects. Experts and scientists would closely monitor clinical trials to look for their good and bad impacts. Also, before participating in clinical trials, people should communicate with the concerned specialists and doctors to know who will manage their treatments and care during the trial and post the trial.

References

  1. 1.
    Ghatalia P, Koenigsberg R, Pisarcik D, Handorf EA, Geynisman DM, Zibelman M. The Evolution of Clinical Trials in Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Status Report for 2013–2016 from the ClinicalTrials.gov Website. KCA. Published online November 27, 2017:151-159. doi:10.3233/kca-170015
  2. 2.
    Malik L, Parsons H, Mahalingam D, et al. Clinical Outcomes and Survival of Advanced Renal Cancer Patients in Phase I Clinical Trials. Clinical Genitourinary Cancer. Published online October 2014:359-365. doi:10.1016/j.clgc.2014.01.011