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J Urol. 2002 Apr;167(4):1630-3.

Outcome of surgical treatment of isolated local recurrence after radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma.

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  • 1Department of Urology, University Hospital Carl-Gustav Carus, Dresden, Germany.



Isolated local recurrences after radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma occur in 2% to 3% of cases. Today local recurrences can be detected at an early stage due to modern imaging techniques. It remains controversial whether an aggressive surgical approach to this problem can prolong survival.


We retrospectively analyzed 16 patients who were treated surgically at our institution for suspected isolated local renal cell carcinoma recurrence during the last 10 years. All patients had undergone extensive staging and had no evidence of distant metastases with the local recurrence. Surgical exploration confirmed carcinoma recurrence in 13 of the 16 cases and all 13 patients underwent complete resection of the local recurrence. Three patients were found to have had false-positive computerized tomography findings on surgical exploration.


Mean time to recurrence was 45.5 months (range 7 to 224). Only 2 patients were symptomatic, while in 11 disease had been detected at routine followup. Mean size of the recurrent tumor was 5.92 cm. (range 2 to 10). All patients survived surgery without major complications. Of the patients 7 died of metastatic disease after a mean survival of 23.1 months (range 4 to 68) following recurrence removal and 6 are alive with a mean survival of 53.0 months (range 18 to 101) (p = 0.09). Time to recurrence after nephrectomy was significantly longer (p <0.05) and size of recurrence significantly smaller (p <0.04) in the patients still alive. In 1 surviving patient evidence of metastatic disease developed 9 months after surgery for recurrence.


Careful followup after radical nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma allows the diagnosis of small local recurrences before they become symptomatic in the majority of cases. Although most of these patients will eventually have and die of metastatic disease, an aggressive surgical approach is justified and can result in prolonged survival.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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