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Goal of Biological Therapy for Kidney Cancer

This treatment is also called immunotherapy. Biological therapy is most commonly used to treat advanced kidney cancers. This treatment uses proteins made in a lab. These proteins are also made naturally by your immune system. The specific kinds of proteins are called cytokines. You may also hear them called biologics. These proteins work by getting your own immune system to better recognize and attack kidney cancer cells.

Here's how you may get biological therapy:

  • By itself or with other treatments after you've had surgery

  • By itself or with other treatments for more advanced disease

  • Immunotherapies may be given in low or moderate doses as an outpatient therapy. However, high dose immunotherapy may, in selected patients, be a better treatment. It is very toxic, however, and should only be given at centers with experience in this treatment.

These are the two main proteins used in biological therapy:

  • Intron A or Roferon A (interferon alpha)

  • Proleukin (interleukin-2)

According to the National Cancer Institute, the biological therapies are thought to help by slowing the cancer's growth, helping your immune system destroy cancer cells, and keeping the cancer from spreading to other parts of your body. 


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