German researchers have developed what appears to be an effective vaccine against recurrent kidney cancers. Kidney cancer accounts for about 3 percent of all cancers and causes about 12,000 deaths in the United States every year. The disease most often strikes those in their 50s and 60s. Standard treatment involves removal of all or part of the kidney. Unlike some other cancers, however, kidney cancer does not respond well to subsequent treatment with chemotherapy or radiotherapy. About half of all patients diagnosed with the disease will have a recurrence after the initial surgery.
Scientists tested vaccines custom made using the individual tumors from kidney cancer patients. The study involved 558 patients scheduled for surgery for kidney cancer. About half the group received six vaccine injections at four-week intervals following surgery. The other half received no additional treatment .The patients were then followed for five years. Among the 379 patients for whom follow up data were available, 77 percent of those who received the vaccinations were still alive without a recurrence of the disease. This compares to 68 percent of those who did not receive the injections.
Researchers conclude saying that,such a milestone could serve as a concrete step towards making adjuvant treatment of renal cancer a routine and effective intervention.