Objective: To assess our institution's experience with the management of pathologic stage T3bNxM0 renal cell carcinoma with tumor thrombus confined to the renal vein treated with nephron-sparing surgery (NSS). Methods: Of the 492 patients who have undergone NSS at Columbia University from 1998 to 2009, 8 patients were found to have stage T3bNxM0 renal cell carcinoma (RCC) on final pathology. Records were reviewed for indication for NSS, imaging studies, perioperative management, surgical details, pathology, and both functional and disease-specific outcomes. Postoperative renal function was estimated by most recent glomerular filtration rate using Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula. Recurrence of RCC was monitored using serial axial imaging. Results: The 8 patients were presumed to be clinical stage T1aN0M0 RCC before surgery; however, tumor thrombus was identified in the renal vein intraoperatively and on final pathology in 4, and 4 cases, respectively, corresponding to stage T3bNxM0 RCC by current American Joint Committee on CancerTumor-Necrosis-Metastasis 2002 criteria. After a median follow-up of 19.8 months, the patients experienced a mean decrease in estimated glomerular filtration rate of 27.1%. One patient developed new-onset renal failure, defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate below 30 mL/min/1.73 m2. Clean surgical margins were obtained in 7 patients. Carcinoma was identified at the parenchymal margin in 1 patient. No patients have evidence of recurrence of RCC by serial axial imaging. Conclusions: NSS does not seem to have had a negative impact on a small series of patients with pathologic stage T3bNxM0 RCC limited to the renal vein and may be a feasible option when the clinical situation indicates a need for preservation of renal function.
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