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J Urol. 2006 Jun;175(6):2022-6; discussion 2026.

Simple enucleation for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma between 4 and 7 cm in greatest dimension: progression and long-term survival.

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Department of Urology, University of Florence, Careggi Hospital, Florence, Italy.



We present our findings in a series of patients treated with simple enucleation for RCC 4 to 7 cm in greatest dimension. We specifically report the incidence of local and systemic recurrence, and the disease specific survival rate.


We retrospectively reviewed clinical and pathological data on 71 patients who underwent nephron sparing surgery by simple enucleation between 1986 and 2004 for sporadic, unilateral, pathologically confirmed, 4 to 7 cm RCC. Patients with a solitary kidney due to previous RCC treated with radical nephrectomy were excluded from study. None of the patients had preoperative or intraoperative suspicion of positive nodes. All patients were free of distant metastases before surgery (M0). Patient status was last evaluated in May 2005. Mean followup was 74 months (median 51, range 12 to 225).


Pathological review according to the 2002 TNM classification showed that 42% of the tumors (30 of 71) were pT1a, 44% (31 of 71) were pT1b and 14% (10 of 71) were pT3a. Mean tumor greatest dimension +/- SD was 4.7 +/- 0.81 cm (median 4.5, range 4.0 to 7.0) cm. None of the patients died within the first 30 days of surgery. There were no major complications requiring open reoperation, such as bleeding and urinary leakage/urinoma. Five and 8-year cancer specific survival was 85.1% and 81.6%, respectively. Five-year cancer specific survival in patients with pT1a (4 cm), pT1b and pT3a disease was 95.7%, 83.3% and 58.3%, respectively (pT1a vs pT1b p = 0.254, pT1a vs pT3a p = 0.006 and pT1b vs pT3a p = 0.143). Overall 10 patients experienced progressive disease (14.9%), of whom 3 had local recurrence (4.5%) alone or local recurrence associated with distant metastases.


Simple tumor enucleation is a useful and acceptable approach to nephron sparing surgery for 4 to 7 cm RCC. It provides long-term cancer specific survival rates similar to those of radical nephrectomy and is not associated with a greater risk of local recurrence than partial nephrectomy for RCC less than 4 cm in greatest dimension.

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