[MOL] Surgery, drug treatment prolongs kidney cancer survival.... [01040] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Surgery, drug treatment prolongs kidney cancer survival....


Surgery, Drug Treatment Prolongs Kidney Cancer Survival

Reuters Health
May 23, 2000

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters Health) - New research released here Monday shows that surgically removing a cancerous kidney and then following up with interleukin-2 (IL-2) or interferon therapy increases cancer patients' survival by as much as 4 months.

The finding is so significant that it is expected to change how physicians treat kidney cancer, researchers report.

"Based on this work, conducted at multiple centers and with hundreds of patients, there should be a substantial shift toward both surgery and the use of biologic agents in the treatment of advanced renal cancer," according to Dr. Robert Flanigan, lead investigator of the study and an oncologist at the Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine in Maywood, Illinois.

"This is the first randomized trial to show that removal of the kidney in the face of biological therapy increases survival," he said.

Flanigan presented his research at the American Society for Clinical Oncology's 36th Annual Meeting.

According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 31,200 new kidney cancer cases this year in the US, and 11,900 deaths.

In the study, 243 patients were randomly assigned to receive either immediate interferon therapy or a kidney removal followed by interferon. Patients received interferon three times a week until their disease worsened.

Patients receiving interferon alone lived an average 8.1 months, while those having kidney removal and drug therapy lived just over a year.

Surprisingly, kidney removal has not been a common treatment for the cancer in the past. Flanigan said earlier studies had shown no real advantage to the surgery, but he thinks that is mostly because biological agents like interferon and IL-2 were not previously available.

IL-2 is the only approved drug therapy for kidney cancer, and is more commonly used than interferon. The researcher said he expects his study results will be the same when physicians use surgery and IL-2.

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