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The following is an interview with Dr Neeraj Agarwal, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine (Medical Oncology), University of Utah, Salt Lake City, USA. Dr Agarwal talks about the effect of taking antibiotics before drug treatment for advanced/metastatic kidney cancer. Previous studies have shown that prior antibiotic use reduces the effectiveness of immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of advanced/metastatic kidney cancer. Dr Agarwal’s study looks at the effect of antibiotic use on the effectiveness of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors, such as sunitinib and pazopanib, and finds the opposite effect. In other words, antibiotics improve the effectiveness of VEGF inhibitors for kidney cancer, probably because antibiotics treat diarrhoea allowing absorption of higher levels of drug. Results of this study were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Genitourinary (ASCO GU) 2018 conference in San Francisco this month.