Nephron-sparing surgery for renal cell carcinoma in the solitary kidney

Navid Berdjis, Oliver W Hakenberg, Vladimir Novotny, Andreas Manseck, Sven Oehlschläger, Manfred P Wirth
Scandinavian Journal of Urology and Nephrology 2007, 41 (1): 10-3

OBJECTIVE: Partial nephrectomy in solitary kidneys carries the risk of tumour progression as well as loss of renal function. We evaluated complications and outcome in patients with renal cell cancer in solitary kidneys who were treated by means of nephron-sparing surgery.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between 1993 and 2003, 38 patients with renal cell carcinoma in a solitary kidney underwent nephron-sparing surgery (partial nephrectomy, n = 37; work-bench resection, n = 1). Of these patients, 21 had asynchronous and eight had synchronous bilateral tumours and underwent contralateral radical nephrectomy. The variables examined were tumour size, disease progression, pre- and postoperative renal function and early (within 30 days of nephron-sparing surgery) and late complications.

RESULTS: After a mean follow-up period of 41.7 months (range 8-93 months) the mean serum creatinine level had increased from 1.25 mg/dl preoperatively to 1.62 mg/dl postoperatively. Seventeen patients retained normal renal function and 21 developed some degree of renal insufficiency. New-onset chronic renal insufficiency after nephron-sparing surgery with creatinine levels >2 mg/dl was the only late complication observed, occurring in 10 cases. None of the patients required dialysis. Transient urinary leakage was the most frequent early complication, occurring in four cases. Recurrence and/or progression were seen in six patients: four with local recurrence (three of whom also had distant metastases) and two with pure metastatic progression. Nephron-sparing surgery was repeated for the patient with isolated local tumour recurrence. The mean tumour size was 3.8 cm (range 0.7-9.9 cm). Tumour size was markedly greater in patients who developed disease progression (6.2 vs 3.5 cm) and in those who developed renal insufficiency (5.2 vs 3.3 cm).

CONCLUSIONS: Nephron-sparing surgery for renal cell carcinoma involving a solitary kidney provides effective curative treatment for small tumours, with preservation of renal function. However, patients who undergo partial nephrectomy for locally extensive tumours are at high risk of disease progression.

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