The recent approval of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) revolutionized the treatment paradigm for metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). However, the role of cytoreductive nephrectomy is not well defined in this setting. Here, we review the contemporary role and timing of cytoreductive nephrectomy for advanced RCC in the era of immunotherapy.
Evidence concerning combination systemic therapy and cytoreductive nephrectomy in the multimodal management of mRCC is primarily limited to studies conducted in the targeted therapy era. The oncologic role of cytoreductive nephrectomy in the setting of ICI remains largely undefined and is supported primarily by case reports. Nonetheless, patient selection for cytoreductive nephrectomy is paramount, and appropriate candidacy in the ICI era will likely be refined as increasing evidence emerges. Until then, a cautious balance between perceived oncologic benefit and risks of intervention must be exercised. Several trials are ongoing to help shed light on patient selection, technical feasibility, and optimal timing of cytoreductive nephrectomy in the immunotherapy era.
Although the role and timing for cytoreductive nephrectomy remain to be further elucidated in the immunotherapy era, patient selection remains critical for treatment planning. Further studies are urgently needed to better define the role of cytoreductive nephrectomy in this setting.
Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, USA
Correspondence to Vitaly Margulis, MD, Department of Urology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Blvd., Dallas, TX 75390-9110, USA. Tel: +1 214 648 0567; e-mail: email@example.com