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In recent years, a number of new, effective treatments have become available for advanced kidney cancer. However, with more drugs available it has become more difficult to decide which drugs to choose for particular patients, and in which order to use them. In addition, the new treatments do not work for all patients and they can have troublesome side effects.
At the moment, doctors use factors such as the type of kidney cancer (from a biopsy), how much the cancer has spread for that individual patient, their previous health and their current fitness to make these decisions.
Treatment options are summarised in guidelines, although these do not make recommendations for individual patients. It is hoped that ongoing research will uncover new tests that allow these decisions to be made more accurately in a “personalised” manner, including the identification of a predictive biomarker. This article from The Royal Marsden Hospital in London describes how the process is undertaken at present and how it may change in the future.