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Cancer Health Center

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Renal Cell Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage III Renal Cell Cancer


Treatment information for patients whose disease has the following classifications:

  • T1, N1, M0
  • T2, N1, M0
  • T3, N1, M0
  • T3a, N1, M0
  • T3b, N1, M0
  • T3c, N1, M0

This stage of renal cell cancer is curable with surgery in a small minority of cases. A radical nephrectomy and lymph node dissection is necessary. The value of preoperative and postoperative EBRT has not been demonstrated, but EBRT may be used for palliation in patients who are not candidates for surgery. Arterial embolization of the tumor with gelfoam or other materials may be employed preoperatively to reduce blood loss at nephrectomy or for palliation in patients with inoperable disease.

Standard treatment options:

  1. Radical nephrectomy with renal vein and, as necessary, vena caval resection (for T3b tumors).[4] Radical nephrectomy with lymph node dissection.
  2. Preoperative embolization and radical nephrectomy.[7,8]
  3. EBRT (palliative).[7]
  4. Tumor embolization (palliative).[8]
  5. Palliative nephrectomy.
  6. Preoperative or postoperative EBRT and radical nephrectomy.[7]
  7. Clinical trials involving adjuvant interferon-alpha.

Current Clinical Trials

Check for U.S. clinical trials from NCI's list of cancer clinical trials that are now accepting patients with stage III renal cell cancer. The list of clinical trials can be further narrowed by location, drug, intervention, and other criteria.

General information about clinical trials is also available from the NCI Web site.


  1. Kidney. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 479-89.
  2. Phillips E, Messing EM: Role of lymphadenectomy in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. Urology 41 (1): 9-15, 1993.
  3. Novick AC, Streem S, Montie JE, et al.: Conservative surgery for renal cell carcinoma: a single-center experience with 100 patients. J Urol 141 (4): 835-9, 1989.
  4. Hatcher PA, Anderson EE, Paulson DF, et al.: Surgical management and prognosis of renal cell carcinoma invading the vena cava. J Urol 145 (1): 20-3; discussion 23-4, 1991.
  5. deKernion JB: Management of renal adenocarcinoma. In: deKernion JB, Paulson DF, eds.: Genitourinary Cancer Management. Philadelphia, Pa: Lea and Febiger, 1987, pp 187-217.
  6. Angermeier KW, Novick AC, Streem SB, et al.: Nephron-sparing surgery for renal cell carcinoma with venous involvement. J Urol 144 (6): 1352-5, 1990.
  7. deKernion JB, Berry D: The diagnosis and treatment of renal cell carcinoma. Cancer 45 (7 Suppl): 1947-56, 1980.
  8. Swanson DA, Wallace S, Johnson DE: The role of embolization and nephrectomy in the treatment of metastatic renal carcinoma. Urol Clin North Am 7 (3): 719-30, 1980.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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