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Radiology. 2018 Jul;288(1):81-90. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2018171407. Epub 2018 May 8.

Comparative Effectiveness of Thermal Ablation, Surgical Resection, and Active Surveillance for T1a Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare-linked Population Study.

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From the Division of Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging (M.X., J.M.L., H.S.K.), and Yale Cancer Center (H.S.K.), Yale School of Medicine, 330 Cedar St, TE 2-224, New Haven, CT 06510; Division of Interventional Radiology and Image Guided Medicine, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Ga (N.K.); and Department of Biostatistics, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pa (D.Z.).


Purpose To compare adverse events and survival outcomes, including cancer-specific survival and overall survival (OS), in patients with T1aN0M0 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) who are undergoing partial nephrectomy (PN), radical nephrectomy (RN), thermal ablation (TA), or active surveillance (AS). Materials and Methods Through use of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare-linked database from 2002 to 2011 with at least 1 year of consecutive follow-up, a HIPAA-compliant retrospective propensity score-matched study of patients with T1aN0M0 RCC who underwent PN, RN, TA, or AS was performed. Medicare beneficiaries (n = 10 218) with T1aN0M0 RCC as first primary cancer diagnosis were included. Survival and adverse health outcomes were compared across treatment groups. Results Overall, cancer-specific survival significantly differed in the PN versus RN (P < .001), AS versus TA (P = .03), and AS versus PN (P = .002) groups. There were no significant differences when TA was compared with PN or RN, with 9-year cancer-specific survival rates of 96.4% versus 96.3% (PN vs TA, P = .07) and 96.1% versus 96.0% (RN vs TA, P = .14), respectively. With the exception of cancer-specific survival in AS versus RN groups (P = .29), cancer-specific survival and OS for all AS comparisons were significantly lower. In addition, compared with the patients undergoing TA, those in the PN and RN groups had increased rates of renal, cardiovascular, and thromboembolic adverse events up to 1 year after the procedure (P < .05 for all comparisons). Conclusion For T1aN0M0 RCC, TA confers cancer-specific survival and OS similar to those seen with surgical management, with significantly fewer adverse outcomes at 1 year after the procedure and similar rates of secondary cancer events compared with surgery.

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