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J Urol. 2007 Aug;178(2):429-34. Epub 2007 Jun 11.

A preoperative prognostic nomogram for solid enhancing renal tumors 7 cm or less amenable to partial nephrectomy.

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  • 1Glickman Urological Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



Small renal masses are increasing in incidence. Most tumors 7 cm or less are treated with radical or partial nephrectomy but clinicians are increasingly relying on ablative therapies and observation for some small renal masses. We present novel nomograms that predict the likelihood of benign, likely indolent or potentially aggressive pathological findings based only on readily identifiable preoperative factors.


Information on all partial nephrectomies performed at a single institution was collected in an institutional review board approved registry. Using retrospectively collected data on all 862 patients who underwent partial nephrectomy for a single, solid, enhancing, clinical T1 (7 cm or less) tumor between 1999 and 2005 tumors were classified as benign or malignant. Grade 3 clear cell renal cell carcinoma, grade 4 renal cell carcinoma of any type and any renal cell carcinoma with vascular, fat or collecting system invasion were considered potentially aggressive. The likelihood of benign, likely indolent or potentially aggressive pathological findings was modeled using multivariable logistic regression models based on age, gender, radiographic tumor size, symptoms at presentation and smoking history.


Of 862 small renal masses 20% were benign and 80% were malignant but only 30% of cancers (24% of small renal masses) were potentially aggressive. All 11 patients with systemic symptoms had cancer. The remaining 851 patients underwent further analysis. Factors that were most strongly associated with the likelihood of benign pathology were age, gender, tumor size and smoking history. A nomogram constructed to predict benign histology proved to be relatively accurate and discriminating (bootstrap corrected concordance index 0.644) and calibrated. Small renal masses in older men and younger women were more likely to be benign. With regard to differentiating indolent from potentially aggressive cancers, only advanced age was independently significant on multivariate analysis (p <0.005). The nomogram for this outcome performed with limited ability (concordance index 0.557).


Clinical factors provide substantial predictive ability to predict benign vs malignant pathology for small renal masses amenable to partial nephrectomy. Although most of these small renal masses are benign or indolent, our ability to predict potentially aggressive cancer in this population remains limited.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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