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Urol Clin North Am. 1987 Nov;14(4):757-62.

The failure of infarction and/or nephrectomy in stage IV renal cell cancer to influence survival or metastatic regression.

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  • 1Department of Urology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois.


The success of cancer therapy depends on the destruction of all viable cancer cells in the primary site, as well as in metastatic areas. Surgery alone can do little for the patient whose tumor has produced distant involvement except in those situations where surgical excision, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or immunotherapy can be relied on to eradicate metastatic disease. Because of the paucity of systemic therapy for renal cell carcinoma, an aggressive surgical approach to the primary tumor is justifiable when all metastatic lesions can be excised or otherwise definitively treated and in experimental protocols in which adjuvant therapy of possible benefit can be combined with palliative nephrectomy. There is no evidence, however, in reported studies to suggest that routine palliative nephrectomy in patients who will not be offered adjuvant systemic therapy or radiation is beneficial. Such practice is also associated with a higher incidence of complications and mortality than is expected for resection of localized renal cell carcinoma. For these reasons, it is reasonable to recommend adjunctive nephrectomy only in certain selected instances, which include (1) the control of a patient's current symptoms related to the primary disease, for example, flank pain, hematuria, fever and toxicity, anemia, erythrocytosis, and hypercalcemia; (2) nephrectomy with the excision of a solitary metastasis; and (3) the patient who is willing to undergo experimental therapy, part of which involves removal of the primary tumor.

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