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Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2020 Mar;147:102882. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2020.102882. Epub 2020 Jan 23.

New rising entities in cancer of unknown primary: Is there a real therapeutic benefit?

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Department of Cancer Medicine, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif, France; Department of Medical Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Saint Joseph University, Lebanon. Electronic address:
Department of Medical Oncology, Oscar Lambert Center, Lille, France.
Department of Medical Oncology, CHU Bordeaux - Hopital saint André, Bordeaux, France.
Acute Oncology Assessment Unit, Medway NHS Foundation Trust, Windmill Road, Gillingham, ME7 5NY, Kent, UK; AELIA Organization, 9th Km Thessaloniki-Thermi, 57001, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Department of Cancer Medicine, Gustave Roussy Institute, Villejuif, France.
University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.


Cancers of Unknown Primary Site (CUP) account for approximately 1-3 % of all malignant neoplasms. It represents a heterogeneous group of malignancies without a detectable primary and is characterized by aggressive clinical behavior. Patients with CUP are presumably categorized into prognostic subsets according to their clinical and pathological characteristics. The majority of these patients are chemoresistant and treated with empiric chemotherapy regimens which yield limited survival. Recent diagnostic advances have led to the identification of a higher percentage of culprit primaries among which colorectal, lung and renal tumors. The empiric CUP regimens may be suboptimal in these patients which explain in part their poor prognosis. In the absence of prospective randomized studies to prove the benefit of site-specific therapy in these subsets, we reviewed the literature to assess whether CUP with colorectal, lung and renal - profiles should be treated similarly to the correspondent primary tumors.


CUP; Cancer of unknown primary; Colon; Colorectal; Kidney; Lung; Renal; Treatment

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Conflict of interest statement

Declaration of Competing Interest Dr Baciarello: Advisory boards and symposia: Amgen, Janssen Oncology, Sanofi, Astellas-Pharma, Roche. Travel accomodations, expenses: Amgen, Astellas-Pharma, Astra Zeneca, Ipsen, Janssen Oncology, Sanofi, Roche. None declared for the remaining authors.

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