Dr. Weiss said novel antimetabolic treatment strategies that are now being tested in other diseases may actually be effective strategies for RCC.

Dr. Weiss and his team are planning on testing inhibitors against specific enzymes to see if they can halt the tumors from creating immunosuppressant metabolites in RCC.

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“We can inhibit that metabolism and we could maybe give that in combination with chemotherapy and have a better result than is currently available,” said Dr. Weiss.

In the case of RCC, higher grade cancers were found to be remodeling their environments more aggressively.  

The finding that cancer grade affects its ability to alter its surroundings could help oncologists develop more personalize therapies. Dr. Weiss said there is a markedly different biochemistry with higher grade tumors, and so stratifying patients by tumor grade may be advantageous.

Medical oncologist Igor Puzanov, MD, who is an associate professor of medicine in the division of Hematology/Oncology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, said looking at cancer by combining proteomics with metabolomics is very exciting.

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He believes it will immediately have an impact on how some patients with RCC as well as patients with other cancers are treated. He said the findings concerning grade may turn out to be highly clinically relevant.

“The grade may suggest part of the information, but not all of the information and I think it is absolutely fascinating,” Dr. Puzanov told Cancer Therapy Advisor.  “It is really in its beginning, but it is the future.”

Mayer Fishman, MD, PhD, of the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, agrees that these are very important new findings and may lead to already available agents being used to treat some RCC patients. “This shifts the focus. You may be able to block specific enzymes and boost the immune system,” Dr. Fishman said in an interview with Cancer Therapy Advisor

“This does have a lot of important implications in treating cancer.  It gets to the heart of what makes a cancer a cancer. This answers why high grade cancers act the way they do and knowing that is important.”


  1. Wettersten HI, Hakimi AA, Morin D, et al. Grade-dependent metabolic reprogramming in kidney cancer revealed by combined proteomics and metabolomics analysis. Cancer Res. May 7, 2015. [Epub ahead of print] pii: canres.1703.2014.