Metastatic renal cell carcinoma: radiologic findings and assessment of response to targeted antiangiogenic therapy by using multidetector CT

Blanca Paño Brufau, Carmen Sebastià Cerqueda, Laura Buñesch Villalba, Rafael Salvador Izquierdo, Begoña Mellado González, Carlos Nicolau Molina
Radiographics: a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc 2013, 33 (6): 1691-716
Recent advances in treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), such as new molecular therapies that use novel antiangiogenic agents, have led to revision of the most frequently used guideline to evaluate tumor response to therapy: Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST 1.1). Assessment of the response of metastatic RCC to therapy has traditionally been based on changes in target lesion size. However, the mechanism of action of newer antiangiogenic therapies is more cytostatic than cytotoxic, which leads to disease stabilization rather than to tumor regression. This change in tumor response makes RECIST 1.1--a system whose criteria are based exclusively on tumor size--inadequate to discriminate patients with early tumor progression from those with more progression-free disease and prolonged survival. New criteria such as changes in attenuation, morphology, and structure, as seen at contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (CT), are being incorporated into new classifications used to assess response of metastatic RCC to antiangiogenic therapies. The new classifications provide better assessments of tumor response to the new therapies, but they have some limitations. The authors provide a practical review of these systems--the Choi, modified Choi, and Morphology, Attenuation, Size, and Structure (MASS) criteria--by explaining their differences and limitations that may influence the feasibility and reproducibility of these classifications. The authors review the use of multidetector CT in the detection of metastatic RCC and the different appearances and locations of these lesions. They also provide an overview of the new antiangiogenic therapies and their mechanisms of action and a brief introduction to functional imaging techniques. Functional imaging techniques, especially dynamic contrast-enhanced CT, seem promising for assessing response of metastatic RCC to treatment. Nonetheless, further studies are needed before functional imaging can be used in routine clinical practice.

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