BackgroundAlthough surgical resection remains the standard of care for localized kidney cancers, a significant proportion of patients experience systemic recurrence after surgery and hence might benefit from effective adjuvant therapy. So far, several treatment options have been evaluated in adjuvant clinical trials, but only a few have provided promising results. Nevertheless, with the recent development of targeted therapy and immunomodulatory therapy, a series of clinical trials are in progress to evaluate the potential of those novel agents in the adjuvant setting. In this paper, we provide a narrative review of the progress in this field, and we summarize the results from recent adjuvant trials that have been completed.MethodsA literature search was conducted. The primary search strategy at the medline, Cochrane reviews, and http://ClinicalTrials.gov/ databases included the keywords “adjuvant therapy,” “renal cell carcinoma,” and “targeted therapy or/and immunotherapy.”ConclusionsData from the s-trac study indicated that, in the “highest risk for recurrence” patient population, disease-free survival was increased with the use of adjuvant sunitinib compared with placebo. The assure trial showed no benefit for adjuvant sunitinib or sorafenib in the “intermediate- to high-risk” patient population. The ariser (adjuvant girentuximab) and protect (adjuvant pazopanib) trials indicated no survival benefit, but subgroup analyses in both trials recommended further investigation. The inconsistency in some of the current results can be attributed to a variety of factors pertaining to the lack of standardization across the trials. Nevertheless, patients in the “high risk of recurrence” category after surgery for their disease would benefit from a discussion about the potential benefits of adjuvant treatment and enrolment in ongoing adjuvant trials.