10 interesting facts about kidney cancer that you may not have known…until now!
1. Kidney cancer is among the top 10 most prevalent cancers in both men and women. Men are twice more likely to develop kidney cancer than women. It is estimated that 1 in 63 people will develop kidney cancer in their lifetime.
2. Kidney cancer is not a single disease, it is made up of a number of different types of cancer, each with a different histology, a different clinical course, responding differently to therapy and caused by a different gene. Studies have elucidated the role of thirteen genes (VHL, MET, FLCN, fumarate hydratase, succinate dehydrogenase B, succinate dehydrogenase D, TFE3, TFEB, MITF, TSC1, TSC2 and PTEN) in kidney cancer. These genes are involved in the cell’s ability to sense oxygen, iron, nutrients or energy. Thus, it can be concluded that kidney cancer is fundamentally a metabolic disease. There are several types of kidney cancers, but renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of cancer.
3. Running & Walking may reduce the incidence of kidney cancer risk, independent of its other known risk factors. Cigarette smoking, Obesity and hypertension are well established risk factors for renal cell cancer.
4. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) may occur sporadically, but there are four heritable syndromes associated with RCC namely, von hippel Lindau disease (VHL), Hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma (RCC), Hereditary papillary renal cancer (HPRC), Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) that contribute to this cancer.
5. Majority of kidney cancer among children is nephroblastoma (Wilm’s tumour), comprising about 1.1% of all kidney cancers. About 80-90% of wilm’s tumor patients with favorable histology can be cured. In Wilm’s tumor, one or more tumors are found in both kidneys.
6. Patients who are on dialysis, especially those with a long history of acquired cystic disease tend to develop a papillary hyperplasia in the epithelium of the cysts that could trigger a renal carcinoma.
7. A constant back ache, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, a mass or lump that can be felt on the lower back or side, intermittent fever can be some of the signs of kidney cancer.
8. Analgesics including acetaminophen and non-aspirin NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory Drugs) are associated with significant risk of developing kidney cancer.
9. Recent advances in chromatin remodeling and genetic studies have been instrumental in discovery of novel targeted therapeutic agents. Some of them include those targeting the VEGF signaling, mTOR signaling, HIF2. Further understanding into the molecular basis will be helpful in developing effective forms of therapy for this disease.
10. In the last decade, immunotherapy has been the major therapeutic option for patients with RCC. About 60-70% of patients have been known to show complete response to immunotherapy. Sorafenib was the first angiogenesis agent approved for metastatic RCC. This is a VEFG tyrosine kinase inhibitor as well as inhibits PDGFR (platelet derived growth factor receptor).
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