Complete Response in Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma Patients Treated with Immune-Checkpoint Inhibitors: Remission or Healing? How to Improve Patients' Outcomes?

Cancers (Basel). 2023 Jan 27;15(3):793. doi: 10.3390/cancers15030793.


Renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for 2% of cancer diagnoses and deaths worldwide. Clear-cell RCCs represent the vast majority (85%) of kidney cancers and are considered morphologically and genetically as immunogenic tumors. Indeed, the RCC tumoral microenvironment comprises T cells and myeloid cells in an immunosuppressive state, providing an opportunity to restore their activity through immunotherapy. Standard first-line systemic treatment for metastatic patients includes immune-checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) targeting PD1, in combination with either another ICI or with antiangiogenic targeted therapy. During the past few years, several combinations have been approved with an overall survival benefit and overall response rate that depend on the combination. Interestingly, some patients achieve prolonged complete responses, raising the question of whether these metastatic RCC patients can be cured. This review will focus on recent therapeutic advances in RCC and the clinical and biological aspects underpinning the potential for healing.

Keywords: clear-cell-renal-cell carcinoma; complete response; first-line treatment; immune-checkpoint inhibitors; immunotherapy.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This work was supported by recurrent grants from INSERM and the University of Strasbourg for INSERM U1260.