Renal cell cancer is nowadays predominantly diagnosed in early stages due to the widespread use of sectional imaging for unrelated symptoms. Small renal masses (<4 cm) feature a largely indolent biology with a very low risk for metastasis or even a benign biology in up to 30% of the cases. Consequently, there is a need for less invasive therapeutic alternatives to nephron-sparing surgery. Meanwhile, there is a broad portfolio of local ablation techniques to treat small renal tumors. These include the extensively studied radiofrequency ablation and cryoablation techniques as well as newer modalities like microwave ablation and irreversible electroporation as more experimental techniques. Tumor ablation can be performed percutaneously under image guidance or laparoscopically. In particular, the percutaneous approach is a less invasive alternative to nephron-sparing surgery with lower risk for complications. Comparative studies and meta-analyses report a higher risk for local recurrence after renal tumor ablation compared to surgery. However, long-term oncological results after treatment of small renal masses are promising and do not seem to differ from partial nephrectomy. The possibility for salvage therapy in case of recurrence also accounts for this finding. Especially old patients with an increased risk of surgical and anesthesiological complications as well as patients with recurrent and multiple hereditary renal cell carcinomas may benefit from tumor ablation. Tumor biopsy prior to intervention is associated with very low morbidity rates and is oncologically safe. It can help to assess the biology of the renal mass and prevent therapy of benign lesions.
Der Urologe. Ausg. A. 2018 Feb 02 [Epub ahead of print]
M C Kriegmair, N Wagener, S J Diehl, N Rathmann
Department of Urology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Deutschland. ., Department of Urology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Deutschland., Institute of Clinical Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Theodor-Kutzer-Ufer 1-3, 68167, Mannheim, Deutschland.