Optimizing clinical benefit with targeted treatment in mRCC: "Tumor growth rate" as an alternative clinical endpoint

Tumor growth rate (TGR), usually defined as the ratio between the slope of tumor growth before the initiation of treatment and the slope of tumor growth during treatment, between the nadir and disease progression, is a measure of the rate at which tumor volume increases over time.

In patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC), TGR has emerged as a reliable alternative parameter to allow a quantitative and dynamic evaluation of tumor response. This review presents evidence on the correlation between TGR and treatment outcomes and discusses the potential role of this tool within the treatment scenario of mRCC. Current evidence, albeit of retrospective nature, suggests that TGR might represent a useful tool to assess whether treatment is altering the course of the disease, and has shown to be significantly associated with progression-free survival and overall survival. Therefore, TGR may represent a valuable endpoint for clinical trials evaluating new molecularly targeted therapies. Most importantly, incorporation of TGR in the assessment of individual patients undergoing targeted therapies may help clinicians decide if a given agent is no longer able to control disease growth and whether continuing therapy beyond RECIST progression may still produce clinical benefit.

Critical reviews in oncology/hematology. 2016 Apr 21 [Epub ahead of print]

Michele Milella

Regina Elena National Cancer Institute, Via Elio Chianesi 53, 00144 Rome, Italy.  

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