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J Urol. 2005 Jun;173(6):1889-92.

Independent validation of the 2002 American Joint Committee on cancer primary tumor classification for renal cell carcinoma using a large, single institution cohort.

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Department of Urology, Mayo Medical School and Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA.



The primary tumor classification for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) was updated by the American Joint Committee on Cancer in 2002. To date the new classification has not been validated using an independent group of patients and, therefore, its accuracy for predicting patient outcome is unknown. In the current study we evaluated the 2002 primary tumor classification and compared its predictive ability with that of the 1997 classification.


We studied 2,746 patients treated with radical nephrectomy or nephron sparing surgery for unilateral, sporadic RCC between 1970 and 2000. Cancer specific survival was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method. The predictive abilities of the 1997 and 2002 classifications were compared using the concordance index.


There were 812 deaths from RCC a mean of 3.3 years following nephrectomy. Median followup in patients still alive at last followup was 9 years. Estimated 5-year cancer specific survival rates by the 2002 tumor classification were 97%, 87%, 71%, 53%, 44%, 37% and 20% in patients with pT1a, pT1b, pT2, pT3a, pT3b, pT3c and pT4 RCC, respectively. The concordance index for the association between the 2002 classification and death from RCC was 0.752 compared with 0.737 for the 1997 classification, indicating that the 2002 version contained more predictive ability.


Our data suggest that the 2002 primary tumor classification with pT1 cancers subclassified into pT1a and pT1b provides excellent stratification of patients according to cancer specific survival and it has a predictive ability that is superior to that of the 1997 classification.

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