Is there a role for partial nephrectomy in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma?

Nicholas J. Hellenthal, Ahmed M. Mansour, Matthew H. Hayn, Thomas Schwaab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objectives: The incidence of metastatic disease in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) correlates with tumor size. We sought to determine the incidence of metastatic disease by tumor size, and the utilization and impact of nephron-sparing surgery on survival in those with metastatic disease. Materials and methods: Utilizing the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, we identified 56,011 patients between 1988 and 2005 diagnosed with RCC. Patients were initially separated into two groups-those with and without metastatic disease-and stratified by tumor size. Cox proportional hazard modeling and Kaplan-Meier analyses were then utilized to evaluate the role of gender, age, grade, histology, tumor size, and type of surgery (radical vs. partial nephrectomy) on overall-and cancer-specific survival in patients with metastatic disease. Results: Eight thousand four hundred ninety-eight patients (15%) had metastatic disease. Four percent of patients with tumors less than 2 cm and 5% of patients with tumors between 2 and 3 cm presented with metastatic disease. Two thousand nine hundred fifty patients (35%) with metastatic disease underwent surgery (radical or partial nephrectomy). Seventy patients (2% of those undergoing surgery) had a partial nephrectomy. Those who underwent partial nephrectomy were 0.49 times less likely to die of RCC than those who underwent radical nephrectomy (95% CI 0.35-0.69, P<0.001). Conclusions: Albeit small, the risk of metastases in patients with small kidney tumors is distinct and should be considered in management discussions. Partial nephrectomy, when able to be done, should be utilized in the setting of metastatic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-41
Number of pages6
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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