Cancer is complex — there is no routine kidney cancer, nor is there ever a routine way to treat it.

The OSUCCC – James kidney cancer subspecialists are nationally and internationally renowned in research and patient care for their particular cancer. Because of that expertise and understanding of cancer’s complexities and how it acts and reacts differently in each person, the very best outcomes — and the most effective means of treating cancer patients — come from a team approach.

At the OSUCCC – James, kidney cancer patients have a team of experts that includes medical oncologists, urologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, geneticists, nutritionists and more. Also on that team are specially trained kidney cancer researchers who help sequence tumors to identify key molecules that fuel each patient’s cancer and who then develop drugs that target only those particular molecules. Many of our experts also help write the national clinical guidelines for treatments.

As one of only a few cancer centers in the country funded by the National Cancer Institute to conduct both phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials, the OSUCCC – James offers patients access to more clinical trials than nearly any other cancer hospital in the country and to more of the latest, most targeted, most effective treatment options — many that are available nowhere else but at the OSUCCC – James.

There are several types of treatment for kidney cancer. The OSUCCC – James team of subspecialists determine the best treatment for each patient based on his or her specific, individual kidney cancer. Patients may receive one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Kidney Cancer Treatments

The OSUCCC – James is a leader in offering some of the world’s most advanced, sophisticated treatments for kidney cancer patients.

Every person’s disease is different, with individually unique genes and molecules driving that disorder. At the OSUCCC – James, our kidney cancer subspecialists are world-renowned experts who focus solely on kidney disorders and who reach across medical disciplines (medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, urologic oncologists, pathologists, kidney cancer researchers, genomic experts and more) to design the very best treatment plan and therapies to target each patient’s specific cancer.

One or more of the following treatments may be recommended:


The OSUCCC – James kidney cancer experts may perform one of the following surgeries to treat kidney cancer, especially if the cancer has not spread outside the kidneys and the patient is in good health.

The kind of surgery recommended may also be chosen based in part on the type and stage of kidney cancer. This can include removing all or part of the kidney.

Partial Nephrectomy: The cancer in the kidney and surrounding tissue is removed. The OSUCCC – James surgical subspecialists may choose surgery if the other kidney is missing or damaged.

Simple Nephrectomy: Only the kidney is removed.

Radical Nephrectomy: The kidney, adrenal gland, nearby tissue and sometimes lymph nodes are removed.

Robotic Surgery: The OSUCCC – James surgical subspecialists may recommend using robotic surgery, which may be especially helpful for patients who have a history of extensive abdominal surgery.

Many patients can live with only a part of one working kidney. But if both kidneys are too damaged or need to be removed, kidney dialysis, a procedure that uses an external machine to filter the blood, would be necessary.

Arterial Embolization

A procedure in which the blood supply to the kidney tumor is cut off to prevent it from growing. The OSUCCC – James subspecialists may choose this method when surgery is not possible.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses high-energy X-rays targeted directly at the cancer cells to destroy cancer cells or keep them from growing.

A patient with kidney cancer may receive radiation therapy before or after a surgery to remove a tumor. Radiation can shrink a tumor to make surgery more successful.

The OSUCCC – James radiation experts are leaders in innovative radiation treatments, and The James is one of the few hospitals in Ohio to offer radiation treatments in the prone position (the patient is lying down).

The OSUCCC – James also offers other leading-edge radiation treatments, including imaging-based radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), stereotactic radiosurgery and using a Varian TrueBeam Linear Accelerator.


Chemotherapy drugs stop cancer cell growth by either destroying the cells or by preventing them from dividing and making new cells. When chemotherapy is given before surgery, it can shrink a tumor. After surgery, it can lower risk that the kidney cancer will return.

Chemotherapy drugs can be taken by mouth or injected into a vein or muscle, and they may be given over a period of months. The way chemotherapy is given depends on the type and stage of the kidney cancer being treated.

When the drugs enter the bloodstream, they can reach cancer cells throughout the body (called systemic chemotherapy). Combination chemotherapy uses more than one anti-cancer drug.

Chemotherapy treatment usually takes place in an outpatient part of the hospital, at your doctor's office or in your home. Some people may need to stay in the hospital for treatment.


Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, uses the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer. Substances made by the body or made in a laboratory can be used to encourage the body’s immune system to attack kidney cancer cells.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a drug treatment designed to attack, or target, cancer cells, leaving healthy or normal cells unharmed. These drugs tend to have less severe side effects and are usually better tolerated than chemotherapy drugs.

Several different targeted therapy drugs are available to treat kidney cancer. Some help constrict blood vessels (or prevent them from forming in a tumor) to stop the tumor’s growth. Other drugs attack certain substances on cancer cells.

Kinase inhibitors stop an important protein from working in cancer cells, causing them to die or stop growing.

(Source: National Cancer Institute)

Kidney Cancer Research & Clinical Trials

For cancer patients, clinical trials mean hope. Hope for a cancer-free world and for better, more targeted ways to prevent, detect, treat and cure individual cancers. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James has more than 500 open clinical trials at any given time, with some of the world’s latest discoveries available to clinical trial patients right here in Columbus, Ohio. In fact, patients have access to more cancer clinical trials here than at nearly any other hospital in the region as well as access to some of the most advanced, targeted treatments and drugs available.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few U.S. cancer centers funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trials on novel anticancer drugs. These trials go only to centers that demonstrate an exemplary capacity for research and clinical care, the expertise to deliver the latest in treatments and the infrastructure to interpret and track treatment results.

Additionally, Ohio State has nearly 300 cancer researchers dedicated to understanding what makes each patient’s cancer grow, move, spread or reoccur. Because of the OSUCCC – James’ NCI phase 1 and phase 2 approvals, these experts can move research discoveries into clinical trials and make them available to patients sooner.

Who Should Participate in a Clinical Trial

For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice. Patients can enter clinical trials before, during or after starting their cancer treatment.

The OSUCCC – James is one of only a few institutions funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to conduct phase 1 and 2 clinical trials on NCI–sponsored anticancer drugs.

If you’ve been diagnosed with kidney cancer, would like a second opinion or would like to speak with a kidney cancer specialist, please call The James Line at 800-293-5066 or 614-293-5066 to make an appointment.

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The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

460 West 10th Avenue

Columbus, Ohio 43210

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