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Ther Adv Urol. 2017 Feb;9(2):45-58. doi: 10.1177/1756287216681246. Epub 2016 Dec 19.

Specific immunotherapy in renal cancer: a systematic review.

Author information

  • 1Border of Immune Tolerance Education and Research Network (BITERN), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran Molecular Immunology Research Center and Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran Research Center for Immunodeficiencies, Children's Medical Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
  • 2Border of Immune Tolerance Education and Research Network (BITERN), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran.
  • 3Department of Solid Tumor Oncology, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland, OH, USA.
  • 4Research Center for Immunodeficiencies, Children's Medical Center Hospital, Dr Qarib Street, Keshavarz Boulevard, Tehran 14194, Iran.



Renal cell cancer (RCC) is the tenth most common malignancy in adults. In recent years, several approaches of active and passive immunotherapy have been studied extensively in clinical trials of patients with RCC. The aim of this systematic review was to assess the clinical efficacy of various approaches of specific immunotherapy in patients with RCC.


We searched Medline, Scopus, CENTRAL, TRIP, DART, OpenGrey and ProQuest without any language filter through to 9 October 2015. One author reviewed search results for irrelevant and duplicate studies and two other authors independently extracted data from the studies. We collated study findings and calculated a weighted treatment effect across studies using Review Manager (version 5.3. Copenhagen: The Nordic Cochrane Centre, the Cochrane Collaboration).


We identified 14 controlled studies with 4013 RCC patients after excluding irrelevant and duplicate studies from 11,319 references retrieved from a literature search. Overall, five autologous tumor cell vaccines, one peptide-based vaccine, one virus-based vaccine and one dendritic cell (DC)-based vaccine were studied in nine controlled studies of active specific immunotherapies. A total of three passive immunotherapies including autologous cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cells, auto lymphocyte therapy (ALT) and autologous lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) cells were studied in four controlled studies. The clinical efficacy of tumor lysate-pulsed DCs, with CIK cells was studied in one controlled trial concurrently. The overall quality of studies was fair. Meta-analysis of seven studies showed that patients undergoing specific immunotherapy had significantly higher overall survival (OS) than those in the control group [hazard ratio (HR) = 0.72; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.58-0.89, p = 0.003]. In addition, a meta-analysis of four studies showed that there was a significant difference in progression-free survival (PFS) between patients undergoing specific immunotherapy and patients in control groups (HR = 0.86; 95% CI = 0.73-1, p = 0.05).


Results of this systematic review suggest that some specific immunotherapies such as Reniale, ACHN-IL-2, Newcastle disease virus (NDV) virus-infected autologous tumor cells, ALT and CIK treatment could be beneficiary for the treatment of patients with RCC.


active immunotherapy; clinical outcomes; immunotherapy; meta-analysis; passive immunotherapy; renal cancer; systematic review; vaccines

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