Clarifying Surgical Options for Kidney Cancer

Jul. 25, 2013
The decided trend in recent years has been toward a partial kidney resection (removal of tumor only) in cases of small kidney cancers. But contrary to past studies, new URMC data shows that people who received a partial nephrectomy did not have improved survival, according to research published this month in European Urology.    

surgeonsThe trend was based on earlier studies suggesting that it’s better to save as much kidney tissue as possible, and thus preserve kidney function and reduce the likelihood of kidney failure in the long run. Many physicians inferred that a radical nephrectomy would be worse for kidney cancer patients, due to a concern that even mild or moderate dysfunction in the remaining kidney could lead to an earlier death.

However, the URMC found that losing a whole kidney to surgery does not translate into poorer outcomes. “It may be that losing kidney tissue from surgery is not the same as losing kidney function from medical diseases like diabetes or hypertension,” said Edward Messing, M.D., chair of Urology at URMC. 

The journal article can be viewed at:

To see the URMC press release: