Surgery and High-Dose SBRT Radiation Can Be Combined to Treat Kidney Cancer

A new study titled “A Pilot Study of Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy Combined with Cytoreductive Nephrectomy for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma” reports the findings of the first clinical trial to evaluate the immune effects of high-dose radiation therapy followed by surgery in patients with advanced kidney cancer may also set the stage for combination treatments with immunotherapy.

The research, published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), shows that nephrectomy can be effectively paired with stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), and also provides strong evidence that immunotherapy may be an effective third element to incorporate into this combination therapy strategy.

For the study, fourteen patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, a type of kidney cancer, were treated with SBRT in a single treatment, followed four weeks later by cytoreductive nephrectomy, or surgery to remove or reduce the size of their tumors.  The team set out to evaluate the safety and practicality of this approach and analyze the impact of the high-dose radiation on the immune system.

Study author Anurag Singh, M.D., said,” We saw a significant increase in calreticulin and other molecules that stimulate T cells.  This suggests that it may be possible to improve the effectiveness of immunotherapies by first priming the pump with high-dose radiation.”

At Illinois CyberKnife, kidney tumors are treated with SBRT using the CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery System.  CyberKnife is a painless, non-invasive outpatient cancer treatment with minimal to no side effects.  CyberKnife, which delivers high-dose radiation over one to five treatments, can be particularly effective for treatment of small kidney tumors because it has the ability to compensate for normal patient movements, precisely targeting the tumor during the entire procedure and minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.  This is important when treating kidney tumors, which can shift during treatment due to regular patient movements such as breathing.

To learn more about how Illinois CyberKnife treats kidney tumors with CyberKnife technology, or to make an appointment, please contact the center today.