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J Urol. 2001 Jul;166(1):59-62.

Adrenal sparing surgery during radical nephrectomy in patients with renal cell cancer: a new algorithm.

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  • 1Department of Urology, der Technischen Universitaet Munich, Klinikum rechts der Isar, Munich, Germany.



Ipsilateral adrenalectomy is usually performed during radical nephrectomy because of renal cell cancer. Because renal tumors are detected more often in the earlier stages due to widespread use of ultrasound and computerized tomography, we define a subset of patients who would be eligible for adrenal sparing surgery. In a retrospective analysis we evaluated whether parameters obtained preoperatively are able to predict adrenal metastasis.


A total of 866 consecutive patients who underwent nephrectomy and ipsilateral adrenalectomy from 1983 to 1999 were evaluated. Preoperative parameters, including tumor size, location, clinical stage, number of tumors, and patient age and sex, were retrospectively compared with the histological results. Univariate and multivariate analyses were performed.


A total of 27 (3.1%) adrenal metastases were noted in the 866 patients, and 63% were on the left side and 37% on the right side. Mean tumor size was 10 cm. with versus 6 cm. without adrenal involvement. Of the 27 patients 21 had multiple metastases at diagnosis and only 6 (0.7% of all 866) presented with solitary ipsilateral adrenal metastasis. Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed tumor size and M stage as best preoperative predictors of adrenal involvement.


Adrenal sparing surgery is possible, and we suggest a new algorithm. If maximum tumor size measured by computerized tomography is less than 8 cm. and staging examination does not show organ or lymph node metastases, adrenalectomy is not necessary because of oncological reasons. This algorithm has to be validated by a prospective analysis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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