What is kidney cancer?
The term kidney cancer is often used to describe a common kind of cancer that begins in the cells surrounding tiny blood-filtering tubes within the kidneys (called renal tubes). Doctors also call it renal cell carcinoma. Other kinds of cancers can also begin in the kidneys, but they are treated differently than renal cell carcinoma.
What causes kidney cancer?
Kidney cancer can develop when abnormal changes (called mutations) occur inside a person’s genes. As a result, normal cells within the kidney become cancer cells. While the exact cause may not be known, people who smoke tobacco, are overweight, or have high blood pressure are at risk for kidney cancer.
What is metastatic kidney cancer?
Metastatic kidney cancer occurs when cancer spreads from the kidney to other parts of the body. It most commonly spreads to the lungs, lymph nodes, bones, and liver.
Are there different stages of kidney cancer?
Yes, there are 4 stages (stage 1 to stage 4) of kidney cancer. Stage 1 and stage 2 kidney cancer tumors are confined to the kidney. With stage 3, cancer has spread to tissue, veins, and/or lymph nodes that are near the kidney. With stage 4, cancer has spread beyond the kidney to a layer of connective tissue that surrounds the kidneys (called the Gerota’s fascia) and/or to a distant site.
Can metastatic kidney cancer be treated?
Yes. There are several different treatments for metastatic kidney cancer. Your doctor/oncologist will tell you if you may be a candidate for:
- Immunotherapy, such as Proleukin
- Targeted therapy
- Radiation therapy
You can also ask your oncologist if there is a possibility of enrolling in a clinical study for a new treatment.
Can metastatic kidney cancer be cured?
Some treatments may help slow or stop the progression of cancer for a while. Proleukin is one of those therapies. After Proleukin treatment, some people’s tumors completely disappeared and did not return (called a durable complete response).*
What is Proleukin?
Proleukin (aldesleukin) is a synthetic protein that is very similar to natural IL-2, an important protein that your body produces. IL-2 activates certain white blood cells (called lymphocytes) to help your immune system fight against diseases and infections. Learn more.
How does Proleukin work?
Proleukin stimulates the immune system by encouraging the growth of certain types of cells in the immune system that attack and kill cancer cells. Learn more.
How might Proleukin help?
Some people with metastatic kidney cancer have had their cancer tumors completely disappear for over 10 years after treatment with Proleukin.*
How is Proleukin administered?
Proleukin is administered by intravenous infusion at a specialized IL-2 Treatment Center. Usually, you’ll receive two 5-day treatment cycles (constituting 1 course of therapy) with Proleukin, with 9 days of rest in between. During each 5-day treatment cycle, Proleukin is typically provided once every 8 hours. If Proleukin is working against your cancer after just 1 course, your oncologist may—or may not—suggest 1 or 2 more courses.
Are side effects severe with Proleukin?
Not always. Everyone is different. Fortunately, side effects can be managed by a team of experts at the IL-2 Treatment Center. And most side effects should subside a few days after treatment with Proleukin. Please see full Prescribing Information for a complete list of side effects.
How can I learn more about metastatic kidney cancer?
If you have any medical questions, talk to your oncologist. You can also access many helpful resources here.
*In 7% of patients (17/255), tumors completely disappeared (called durable complete response). In 8% (20/255) of patients, tumors shrank (called partial response).