OBJECTIVE: To describe the surgical management of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in a solitary kidney (managed preferentially by nephron-sparing surgery, NSS, to avoid dialysis) and extending into the renal vein or inferior vena cava (T3b). PATIENTS AND METHODS: We identified 13 patients treated surgically between 1977 and 2002 for stage T3b RCC in a solitary kidney; their charts were reviewed to ascertain details of management, pathology and outcomes. RESULTS: NSS was successful in seven patients (four in situ and three extracorporeally). Five patients had radical nephrectomy (RN), four after failed NSS. The mean (SEM) operative duration was longer for NSS, at 5.8 (0.7) h, than RN, at 3.3 (0.6) h. There was one death during surgery before nephrectomy, and eight other complications in six patients. At a median (range) follow-up of 24 (0-204) months, eight patients had died, four from RCC (all having had NSS) at a median interval of 9.5 (7-16) months. Of the five patients alive at a median follow-up of 25 months, four had no identifiable disease, whilst one had systemic recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: NSS combined with venous tumour thrombectomy for treating T3b RCC involving a solitary kidney is feasible, albeit complicated. There was oncological success in a third of the patients. The treatment of these patients needs to be individualized, as alternatives to NSS (RN or observation) have obvious disadvantages.
- Renal Cell
- Vena cava