The introduction of targeted therapy has revolutionized the treatment of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC). The current standard of care focuses on the inhibition of angiogenesis through the targeting of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Over the past few years, research exploring novel targeted agents has blossomed, leading to the approval of various targeted therapies. Furthermore, results from the CheckMate025 and the METEOR trials have brought about two additional novel options: the programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) checkpoint inhibitor nivolumab and the MET/VEGFR/AXL inhibitor cabozantinib, respectively. With the variety of therapeutic agents available for treatment of mRCC, research examining appropriate sequencing and combinations of the drugs is ongoing. This review discusses the role of prognostic criteria, such as those from the International Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma Database Consortium (IMDC) criteria. It also covers the current standard of treatment for mRCC with targeted therapy in first-, second-, and thirdline setting. Additionally, the novel mechanism of action of nivolumab and cabozantinib, therapeutic sequencing and ongoing clinical trials are discussed.
Renal cell carcinoma; targeted therapy; immunotherapy; nivolumab; cabozantinib.