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J Urol. 2010 Nov;184(5):1882-7. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.06.109. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Radio frequency ablation of renal tumors in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

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Department of Urology, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.



We retrospectively evaluated the feasibility, safety and outcomes of radio frequency ablation of primary renal tumors to control local disease while preserving renal parenchyma in a series of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma in a single institutional, multidisciplinary setting.


We evaluated the records of patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who underwent percutaneous radio frequency ablation of a primary renal tumor. Patient demographic and disease characteristics, adjunctive medical and surgical therapies, recurrence and clinical outcomes were studied.


A total of 15 patients treated between 2002 and 2008 met study inclusion criteria. There was no incomplete ablation or local recurrence. Ten patients had biopsy proven renal cell carcinoma in the ablated renal mass. Eight patients had a solitary metastasis, 3 had metastasis at 2 sites and 4 had 3 or more metastatic sites. Four patients experienced major complications. Median radiographic and clinical followup in patients at risk for an event was 25.5 and 33.0 months, respectively. The overall survival rate 1, 3 and 5 years after radio frequency ablation was 73.3%, 57.1% and 38.1%, respectively. At last evaluation 4 patients were in complete remission, 4 had no evidence of local recurrence but had evidence of distant disease and 7 had died of the disease.


Radio frequency ablation is feasible and safe in highly selected patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma, resulting in durable local control as part of multimodality management and achieving renal preservation. Further investigation is required to define the role of radio frequency ablation in this patient population.

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