Current Urology Reports

, 20:1 | Cite as

A Critical Insight into the Clinical Translation of PD-1/PD-L1 Blockade Therapy in Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

  • Caroline E. Nunes-Xavier
  • Javier C. Angulo
  • Rafael Pulido
  • José I. LópezEmail author
Kidney Diseases (G Ciancio, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Kidney Diseases


Purpose of Review

Targeting PD-1/PD-L1 immune checkpoints is a new therapeutic tool in patients with locally advanced and metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma (CCRCC). The purpose of this review is to offer clinicians an updated translational insight into the current status of a therapeutic alternative that may impact significantly patient’s life.

Recent Findings

Immune checkpoint inhibition has recently demonstrated promising results in selected CCRCC patients with respect to tumor progression and survival. The decision to treat these patients with immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) relies on the immunohistochemical detection of PD-1/PD-L1 positivity in inflammatory cells in the tumor, which makes the role of the pathologist crucial, but clinical concern upon the reliability to use immunohistochemistry (IHC) to predict therapeutic response is increasing.


We review the state of the art of the immune checkpoint inhibition in CCRCC, from the basic science and its fundamentals to the daily application in clinical routine.


Clear cell renal cell carcinoma Immune checkpoint inhibition PD-1 PD-L1 Immunohistochemistry Sampling protocols Targeted therapy 



This work has been partially funded by grants SAF2016-79847-R from Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad, Spain (to RP and JIL) and 239813 from The Norwegian Research Council, Norway (to CEN-X).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Caroline E. Nunes-Xavier, Javier C. Angulo, Rafael Pulido, and José I. López each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline E. Nunes-Xavier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Javier C. Angulo
    • 3
    • 4
  • Rafael Pulido
    • 1
    • 5
  • José I. López
    • 1
    • 6
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Biomarkers in Cancer UnitBiocruces-Bizkaia Health Research InstituteBarakaldoSpain
  2. 2.Department of Tumor Biology, Institute for Cancer ResearchOslo University Hospital RadiumhospitaletOsloNorway
  3. 3.Department of UrologyUniversity Hospital of GetafeGetafeSpain
  4. 4.Clinical DepartmentEuropean University of Madrid, Laureate UniversitiesMadridSpain
  5. 5.IKERBASQUE, The Basque Foundation for ScienceBilbaoSpain
  6. 6.Department of PathologyCruces University HospitalBarakaldoSpain
  7. 7.Department of Medical-Surgical SpecialtiesUniversity of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU)LeioaSpain

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