Papillary renal cell carcinoma: A review of the current therapeutic landscape

Giulia Courthod, Marcello Tucci, Massimo Di Maio, Giorgio V. Scagliotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common cancer of the kidney and accounts for 2-3% of all adult malignancies. Clear cell carcinoma represents the most common histologic subtype, while papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma (pRCC) accounts for 10-20% of all renal cell cancers. While the inactivation of VHL gene can be found in the majority of clear cell carcinomas, different molecular mechanisms are involved into pRCC biology. Mutations in the MET oncogene are an essential step into the pathogenesis of hereditary pRCC forms, but they can be found only in a small rate of sporadic cases. Several agents, including anti-VEGF drugs and mTOR inhibitors, are possible options in the treatment of advanced and metastatic pRCC, following the demonstration of efficacy obtained in clinical trials including all RCC histologic subtypes. However, data specifically obtained in the subgroup of patients affected by pRCC are limited and not conclusive. Several ongoing trials are evaluating the efficacy of targeted therapy in papillary form. However, more rationale approaches based on molecular studies would help improving the outcome of these patients. Among others, MET inhibitors and targeted immunotherapy are promising new strategies for hereditary and sporadic disease. This review summarizes current knowledge on pRCC tumorigenesis and discusses recent and ongoing clinical trials with new therapeutic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)100-112
Number of pages13
JournalCritical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2015


  • MET inhibitors
  • MET mutations
  • Papillary renal cell carcinoma
  • Targeted immunotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Hematology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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