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Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is one of the ten most frequent solid tumors worldwide. Recent innovations in the treatment of metastatic disease have led to new therapeutic approaches being investigated in the adjuvant setting. Observation is the only current standard of care after radical nephrectomy, although there is evidence of efficacy of adjuvant use of vaccine among all the strategies used. This article aims to collect published experiences with systemic adjuvant approaches in RCC and to describe the results of past and ongoing phase III clinical trials in this field. We explored all the systemic treatments, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted drugs while alternative approaches have also been described. Appropriate selection of patients who would benefit from adjuvant therapies remains a crucial dilemma. Although the international guidelines do not actually recommend any adjuvant treatment after radical surgery for RCC, no conclusions have yet been drawn pending the results of the promising ongoing clinical trials with the target therapies. The significant changes that these new drugs have made on advanced disease outcome could represent the key to innovation in terms of preventing recurrence, delaying relapse and prolonging survival after radical surgery for RCC.
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