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BJU Int. 2008 Feb;101(4):444-9. Epub 2007 Nov 16.

Analysis of renal cell carcinoma with subdiaphragmatic macroscopic venous invasion (T3b).

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Department of Urology, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, KU Leuven, Belgium.



To review our institutional experience of surgery for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with subdiaphragmatic macroscopic venous invasion (T3b) and to assess variables associated with cancer-specific survival (CSS), as the stratification of RCC with venous involvement (T3b and T3c) is subject to debate.


We retrospectively reviewed the hospital records of patients who underwent a radical nephrectomy with resection of subdiaphragmatic tumour thrombus (T T) between October 1990 and May 2006. The log-rank and Cox uni- and multivariate regression analysis were used to evaluate predictive factors for CSS.


In all, 101 cases were identified. In the N0M0 group, univariate Cox regression analysis confirmed that ipsilateral adrenal gland invasion, Mayo Clinic level of T T, histological subtype and fat invasion were significantly associated with worse CSS. In multivariate Cox regression analysis, only Mayo Clinic level of T T was an independent predictor for CSS. In the subgroup with renal vein involvement only, the median CSS was not reached. In the subgroups with level I, II and III T T involvement, the median CSS was 69, 26 and 21 months, respectively. In the N+ and/or M+ group, only tumour size and type were independent predictors of CSS, while the level of T T was not. Radical nephrectomy yielded poor results with a median CSS of 13 months.


The Mayo Clinic level of T T is an independent prognostic predictor for CSS in non-metastatic T3b RCC. We strongly support the need for re-classification of the currently applied 2002 Tumour-Node-Metastasis staging system, which in its present form does not discriminate between levels of subdiaphragmatic venous invasion.

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