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The past decade has seen extraordinary advances in the treatment and outlook of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In the past 7 years, the US Food and Drug Administration has approved as many targeted agents, with a host of others in development. Such success has been underpinned by sound basic translational research, informing RCC tumour biology and allowing rational novel therapeutic design. The advent of large scale, high throughput, molecular profiling is likely to deliver further insights still and it can be expected that over the next decade the treatment paradigm will shift again, as we enter an era of truly personalized medicine.

This book by Figlin et al. is therefore timely and serves to bring the reader up-to-date with what has been a tremendously exciting time in the field. The book has been edited, and in many cases authored, by internationally recognized practitioners in their subject area. We found it comprehensive, well written and well illustrated.

The book is divided into two main parts, the first addressing the biology of RCC. There are five chapters in this section and despite an inevitable small degree of overlap, the editors have done well to avoid excessive repetition. Almost 100 pages are devoted to RCC biology, which may initially sound off-putting to some, but in each chapter there is a strong translational emphasis, highlighting the clinical relevance of the presented data.

The second part, composed of 10 chapters and making up the majority of the book, focuses on current and future molecular targets for RCC. The section covers these issues comprehensively and in fact goes beyond this, encompassing other areas such as mechanisms of resistance to currently used drugs. The chapter on personalized medicine opens with two example case studies that we found fascinating. The second, in particular, relating to a young woman with type 2 papillary renal cell carcinoma was engrossing and provided a glimpse of what can be achieved in the spirit of individualized patient care. Finally, an excellent discussion around the increasing interest in neo-adjuvant therapy and the implications of such an approach in RCC for biomarker discovery and trial design is also provided.

There is little negative to say. A minor criticism, related to the layout of the book, is that the chapters are not always presented in a logical order, interrupting the overall flow of the text. Perhaps a third section, encompassing chapters such as those on biomarkers, personalized medicine and clinical trial design would have been helpful.

Overall, we found this to be an excellent book that we highly recommend. The editors have succeeded in bringing together leaders in the field to assemble a text that is detailed, far-reaching and forward looking. It would be equally well placed on the shelf of physicians and researchers alike, and those with an interest in the field would do well to have read it.

Competing Interests

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  2. Competing Interests

All authors have completed the Unified Competing Interest form at http://www.icmje.org/coi_disclosure.pdf (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare: no support from any organization for the submitted work; no financial relationships with any organizations that might have an interest in the submitted work in the previous 3 years; no other relationships or activities that could appear to have influenced the submitted work.