© 2005-2012 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). All rights reserved worldwide.
A new study shows that women, older people, and people with cerebrovascular disease (disease of the brain involving blood vessels, such as stroke) who have a small kidney tumor are more likely to receive a radical nephrectomy (the removal of the entire kidney) over a partial nephrectomy (the removal of part of the kidney), despite evidence showing that the two approaches are equally effective. Also, a partial nephrectomy has been shown to preserve kidney function better than a radical nephrectomy.
In this study, the researchers used Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data from 1995 through 2002 to identify pre-operative factors, such as age, gender, race, and other health conditions, that differed between 2,547 patients with small kidney tumors who received a radical nephrectomy and 556 patients who had received a partial nephrectomy.
The results showed that 21% of men received a partial nephrectomy compared with 16% of women, and 22% of patients ages 66 to 69 received a partial nephrectomy compared with 7% of patients 85 or older. In addition, patients who had received a partial nephrectomy were more likely to be treated at a later date in the study period, suggesting that the use of partial nephrectomy may be increasing.
What this means for patients
“Just as lumpectomy can be less invasive but as effective as mastectomy for treating breast cancer, people with kidney cancer should be aware that partial nephrectomy is not only an option, but may be a better option than radical nephrectomy in many circumstances because it may help preserve kidney function in patients with kidney tumors,” said William Huang, MD, Assistant Professor of Urologic Oncology at New York University School of Medicine in New York City and the study's lead author. Patients undergoing surgery for kidney cancer should discuss these treatment options with their doctor.