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J Urol. 2006 Dec;176(6 Pt 1):2401-4.

Positive surgical parenchymal margin after laparoscopic partial nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma: oncological outcomes.

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James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, 600 North Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



The oncological efficacy of partial nephrectomy is related to obtaining a negative surgical margin intraoperatively. This study assesses the oncological outcomes of patients undergoing laparoscopic partial nephrectomy for a renal tumor who had positive surgical margin on final pathology.


The experiences of 2 surgeons with 511 patients with a pathological diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma treated with laparoscopic partial nephrectomy were reviewed. Patients with a positive surgical margin were identified retrospectively. Oncological outcomes were assessed by followup with chest x-ray and computerized tomography every 6 to 12 months for 5 years.


There were 9 patients (1.8%) with a positive margin on final pathology. Mean tumor size was 2.8 cm (range 1.7 to 4.0). Two patients underwent secondary completion radical nephrectomy, one at 4 days and the other at 2 months following laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. No residual tumor was identified in the nephrectomy specimen in either patient. Of the remaining 7 patients who elected surveillance, 1 with von Hippel-Lindau disease died of metastatic renal cell carcinoma to pancreas 10 months after laparoscopic partial nephrectomy. The remaining patients were disease-free for a median followup of 32 months (range 6 to 76). No patient in the series had port site seeding.


A positive margin following laparoscopic partial nephrectomy does not necessarily indicate residual disease. However, vigilant monitoring is mandatory. While midterm outcomes parallel those of patients with a negative margin, longer followup is necessary to determine the ultimate oncological outcomes in this subgroup of patients.

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