The use of novel targeted anticancer agents has led to overall improvement in the prognosis of many patients affected by various malignancies, but has also been associated with an increased risk of poorly characterized toxic effects to different organs, including the kidneys. The high prevalence of kidney impairment in the general population complicates the issue further. Nephrologists most frequently work with patients with cancer when they are asked to investigate kidney function to assess the need for dose adjustments in anticancer therapy. A thorough knowledge of the renal safety profile of novel life-prolonging anticancer therapies, specific features of their metabolism, and pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties (under normal circumstances as well as in the setting of renal replacement therapy) is, therefore, necessary to preserve kidney function as far as possible and to ensure optimum treatment. In this Review we summarize the present knowledge of renal toxic effects from novel targeted anticancer agents and discuss whether the management of patients' treatment needs to be modified. We also advocate the development of a new onconephrology subspeciality.
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