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Eur Urol. 1999 Sep;36(3):230-5.

Clinical study of brain metastasis of renal cell carcinoma.

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Department of Urology, Osaka University Medical School, Suita, Japan.



To evaluate the natural history and the efficacy of treatments for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with brain metastasis, we reviewed 18 patients with this disease.


Out of 325 cases with RCC treated at Osaka University Hospital from 1957 to 1993, 18 (5.5%, male:female ratio 16:2) cases developed brain metastases. Median follow-up was 44 months after the initial treatment of the primary lesion. Twelve patients had surgical resection of brain metastases (surgical group), and 7 of them received adjuvant radiotherapy. Six patients with poor performance status were treated with supportive therapy alone (nonsurgical group).


Of 18 RCC patients with brain metastasis, 16 were male and 2 female. All brain metastases except for 1 case were symptomatic. Median interval between the initial treatment of the primary lesion and the diagnosis of brain metastasis was 19 months. The most frequent metastatic site prior to brain was the lung, which was detected in 7 cases (38.9%). Median survival of the entire group, measured from the onset of brain metastasis, was 9.5 months. One-year survival rate after the diagnosis of brain metastasis was 43.2% (64.8% in surgical group, 0% in nonsurgical group), 3-year 18.5% and 5-year 0%. Among 109 metastatic RCC, 14 patients were treated by lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) therapy. Out of 14 metastatic RCC patients treated by LAK therapy, 3 (21.4%) developed brain metastases. On the other hand, out of 95 metastatic RCC patients without LAK therapy, 15 (15.8%) had brain metastases. There was no significant difference in the rate of brain metastases between these two groups.


There was a trend for prognosis of the surgical group to be better compared to that of the nonsurgical group, although it is not statistically significant. The optimum treatment for brain metastasis of RCC remains undefined, but our data suggested surgical resection in selected patients might contribute to prolonged survival of patients with brain metastasis. LAK therapy was not necessarily the risk factor of the brain metastasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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