NEW YORK, September 5, 2006 -- For forty years, the gold standard for treating a single, small tumor in the kidney has been to remove the entire kidney. A retrospective study, which appears in the September issue of The Lancet Oncology, by urologists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and their colleagues, suggests that this practice needs to be re-evaluated. Researchers add that with advances in imaging, almost 70 percent of kidney cancer patients have their tumor detected at a very small size (less than 4 cm), allowing surgeons to perform less radical surgery with superior results.
The study revealed that patients with two otherwise healthy kidneys who underwent kidney-sparing surgery (partial nephrectomy) to remove a small cancer developed chronic kidney disease at a rate one-third lower than patients whose entire kidney was removed (radical nephrectomy). The three-year probability of staying free of chronic kidney disease was 80 percent for the partial nephrectomy patients compared with 35 percent for patients who underwent a radical nephrectomy. In fact, radical nephrectomy was shown to be a significant risk factor for developing chronic kidney disease.
"The results of our study demonstrate that prior to surgery, the baseline kidney function of patients with small kidney tumors was significantly lower than previously recognized," explained Dr. William C. Huang, the study's first author. "Patients who undergo a radical nephrectomy, the most common treatment for small kidney tumors, are at significantly greater risk for the development of chronic kidney disease after surgery compared with those who undergo a partial nephrectomy."
The retrospective study of 662 patients at MSKCC showed that up to 26 percent of the patients had pre-existing chronic kidney disease before undergoing surgery to remove a small tumor (less than 4 cm) from the kidney. In addition, those patients who had the entire kidney removed were more
Contact: Joanne Nicholas
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center