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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 9:20 EDT

Researchers Point To The Aggressive Potential Of Small Kidney Tumors, Advocates Treatment

March 18, 2013

Small kidney tumors have an aggressive potential and should be treated, according to a the results of a large multi-center study presented at the 28th Annual EAU Congress in Milan.

“Many clinicians regard small renal cell cancer as having a benign biologic behavior and non-operative surveillance protocols are often being used in patients with small renal tumors,” write the authors in the findings. “The aim of this large retrospective multi-center study was to evaluate the prevalence of locally advanced growth and distant metastases in patients with small renal cell carcinomas following surgery.”

The investigation included 2197 patients with RCC of 4 cm or smaller in maximal tumor diameter and complete patient and tumor specific characteristics from six centers in Germany between 1990 and 2011.

The risk of presenting nodal disease or distant metastasis increased insignificantly with rising tumor diameter. After a mean follow-up of more than 5 years, the tumor-associated death rates were 6.5, 7.6, and 8.4 % in the ≤ 2 cm, 2-3 cm, and 3-4 cm tumor diameter subgroups, respectively. Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer specific survival (CSS) rates did not differ significantly: 93.3, 92.1, and 92.8 %.

Patients with no lymphatic or distant metastasis at the time of diagnosis or surgery had a 5-year cancer specific death rate of 5.8 %. 5-year cancer related death rate was significantly higher among the 75 patients with nodal or distant involvement at the time of surgery (p<0.001).

In conclusion, the authors stress that lymph node and distant metastases occur even in small RCCs: “These results have significant implications since the rate of patients diagnosed with small renal masses is increasing and non-operative surveillance protocols are currently being used in patients with small renal tumor.”

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Source: European Association of Urology