Considering renal risk while managing cancer

Vahakn B. Shahinian, Amit Bahl, Daniela Niepel, Vito Lorusso

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Renal function is an important consideration in the management of patients with advanced cancer. There is a reciprocal relationship between cancer and the kidney: chronic kidney disease can increase the risk of developing cancer, and patients with cancer often experience renal impairment owing to age, disease-related factors and nephrotoxic treatments. As therapies for cancer continue to improve, patients are living longer with their disease, potentially extending the period over which they are susceptible to long-term complications. Furthermore, secondary symptoms, such as bone metastases or infections, may arise that will require treatment. Certain treatments, including chemotherapy, antibiotics and some bone-targeted agents, are nephrotoxic and may require dose modifications or interruptions to prevent renal injury. Nephrologists should play a key role in the identification and management of renal impairment in patients with cancer. Furthermore, they may be able to provide advice on protecting the kidneys in instances where nephrotoxic agents require dose reductions or interruptions, and when novel therapies or combinations are used. Collaboration between oncologists and nephrologists is important to optimal patient management. This article reviews the relationship between cancer and kidney disease and examines the treatments that may impact kidney function. Considerations for monitoring renal function are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-178
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Management and Research
Publication statusPublished - May 16 2017


  • Advanced cancer
  • Cancer management
  • Elderly
  • Kidney disease
  • Nephrotoxicity
  • Renal function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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