What is the role of medications in renal transitional cell carcinoma treatment?

Updated: Nov 05, 2019
  • Author: Bagi RP Jana, MD, MBA, MHA, FACP; Chief Editor: E Jason Abel, MD  more...
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The goals of pharmacotherapy are to induce remission, reduce morbidity, and prevent complications. The combination of methotrexate, vinblastine, doxorubicin (Adriamycin), and cisplatin (MVAC) is the best-studied chemotherapy regimen for upper urinary tract transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Durable, complete responses were obtained in only 5-10% of patients. Serious complications were encountered in 41% of patients; treatment-related mortality was 2-4%.

Gemcitabine-based combinations (gemcitabine + cisplatin or carboplatin) have activity similar to MVAC in bladder cancer but are associated with less toxicity. Some studies found the combination of gemcitabine and paclitaxel to be as effective as cisplatin-based therapies, with less nephrotoxicity.

Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy (ie, atezolizumab, nivolumab) is the newest option for treatment of locally advanced or metastatic disease.

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