What to Expect After Biological Therapy for Kidney Cancer

Side effects from biological therapy for kidney cancer can be severe. They usually improve after the treatment ends.

Which side effects you have and when you have them varies from person to person and will also be dependent on the dose schedule given. Here are more common side effects of biological therapy:

  • Appetite loss

  • Dizziness

  • Drowsiness

  • Fatigue that is moderate to severe

  • Fever and chills

  • Fluid buildup in lungs

  • Headaches, muscle aches, joint aches, or bone pain

  • Injection site reactions (redness, swelling, discomfort)

  • Mental or emotional changes, such as confusion or depression

  • Mouth sores

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

  • Shortness of breath

  • Skin rash or dryness

  • Taste changes or metallic taste in mouth

  • Urination changes--decrease in usual amount

  • Weight gain of 5 pounds or more

These are less common side effects of biological therapy for kidney cancer:

  • Temporary hair loss

  • Numbness or tingling in fingers, toes, or face

  • Problems with thinking and concentration

  • Mood changes

  • Trouble sleeping

In addition, your doctor and nurse will watch for more serious side effects, such as these:

  • Changes in blood counts

  • Congestive heart failure

  • Damage to organs, such as kidneys, heart, thyroid, or liver

  • Low blood pressure

It may be helpful to keep a log of your symptoms. This information would include physical, cognitive, and emotional changes. A written list will make it easier for you to remember your questions when you go in for your appointments. It will also make it much easier for your medical team to identify appropriate interventions for your side effects.