Targeted agents for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma

Cancer. 2005 Dec 1;104(11):2323-33. doi: 10.1002/cncr.21453.


Metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is currently one of the most treatment-resistant malignancies. However, the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms underlying RCC development has led to the identification of promising targets for novel therapeutic agents. The involvement of the Von Hippel-Lindau protein pathway in clear cell RCC suggests that downstream targets of this pathway, namely, signaling through vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in endothelial cells, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) in endothelial cells and pericytes, and the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway in tumor cells are all reasonable and rational therapeutic targets. A number of agents are in development that target VEGF (bevacizumab, a recombinant, humanized monoclonal antibody) or its receptor, VEGFR (PTK787, SU011248, and BAY 43-9006, all of which are small molecule inhibitors). Agents targeting EGFR also are being investigated clinically (gefitinib, cetuximab, erlotinib, and ABX-EGF). The Raf/MEK/ERK pathway is an important downstream convergence point for signaling through VEGFR, platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), and EGFR (all have receptor tyrosine kinase activity) and also has important antiapoptotic effects, thereby providing an attractive target for intervention. In addition to inhibiting VEGFR and PDGFR-mediated angiogenic pathways, BAY 43-9006 has been shown to inhibit the Raf/MEK/ERK pathway at the level of Raf kinase. MEK-directed therapeutic approaches are also in development. Given that multiple molecular pathways are implicated in tumor cell growth, antitumor activity may be increased by using individual agents that target multiple pathways, or by combining different agents to allow vertical or horizontal inhibition of relevant pathways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / physiology


  • Angiogenesis Inhibitors
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor