The five year survival rate is around 90-95% for tumors less than 4 cm. For larger tumors confined to the kidney without venous invasion, survival is still relatively good at 80-85%.
For tumors that extend through the renal capsule and out of the local fascial investments, the survivability reduces to near 60%.
If it has metastasized to the lymph nodes, the 5-year survival is around 5 % to 15 %. If it has spread metastatically to other organs, the 5-year survival rate is less than 5 %.
For those that have tumor recurrence after surgery, the prognosis is generally poor.
Renal cell carcinoma does not generally respond to chemotherapy or radiation. Immunotherapy, which attempts to induce the body to attack the remaining cancer cells, has shown promise.
Recent trials are testing newer agents, though the current complete remission rate with these approaches are still low, around 12-20% in most series.
Most recently, treatment with tyrosine kinase inhibitors including nexavar, pazopanib, and rapamycin have shown promise in improving the prognosis for advanced RCC since 2004.
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Last Updated: Feb 1, 2011