Chemotherapy Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma

Most patients with stage 4 renal cell carcinoma have disease that has already spread and cannot be removed with surgery, so systemic treatment that can kill cancer cells throughout the body is necessary.  Treatment focuses on extending life and maintaining quality of life.

Systemic treatment is called chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy can also destroy cancer cells that have metastasized to parts of the body away from the original tumor site. Combining two or more chemotherapy agents can be used for treatment of renal cell carcinoma, as this will help to provide a better response overall.

Chemotherapy schedule

Chemotherapy is usually given over 3-6 months. It’s given in cycles, with days or weeks off between treatments. This gives your body a chance to recover. 

Most chemotherapy is given by IV through a vein and you will usually need to have a port placed.  Some chemotherapy treatment is in pill form and can be taken orally.

Your schedule depends on the combination of drugs used for treatment.

  • 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)
  • Bavencio
  • Bevacizumab
  • Cisplatin-(cisplatingemcitabin)
  • Doxorubicin
  • Gemcitabine
  • Imfinzi
  • Methotrexate
  • Paclitaxel
  • Temsirolimus
  • Vinblastine
  • Vincristine


Chemotherapy can also be used in combination with immuno-oncology or immunotherapy may benefit from therapy or a combination of therapies.  A multidisciplinary treatment team is important for every patient!