The use of radiotherapy for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is not routine. In a recent study, the use of radiotherapy to delay the use of medicines (systemic therapy) for patients with a small number of RCC metastases (oligometastatic) was assessed.

There were 30 patient in the study, al of whom had clear cell RCC and had a nephrectomy before enrolment. All patients completed at least one round of radiotherapy. Average time to when the radiotherapy stopped working and the cancer started growing again (progression-free survival) was 22·7 months. Three (10%) patients had severe side effects and one had a life-threatening side effect.

Radiotherapy might help to delay the use of systemic therapy and could allow sustained breaks in systemic treatment for some patients with oligometastatic RCC.

Read more in The Lancet Oncology here