Mayo Clinic logoAnnually around 50,000 new cases of kidney cancer are said to be registered in the United States alone. And the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. According to a Mayo Clinic study surgical treatment may improve kidney cancer survival. The results are possibly beneficial because it is next to impossible to treat the disease once it has spread to other organs.

The scientists examined the outcomes of 888 renal cell carcinoma patients. It appeared that the survival rate of the patients who had all their metastatic tumors eradicated elevated to an average of five years. However, the patients with the tumors indicated only a one year cancer-specific survival rate.

Bradley Leibovich, M.D., Mayo Clinic urological surgeon and lead author on the study added, “Surgery remains critically important in the treatment plan for many patients. We are always looking for ways to improve patient care, including aggressive surgical management of the primary tumor and, in some cases, the metastases.”

During the study approximately 30 percent patients supposedly had cancer spread. This was even before the cancer was determined. It is assumed that the lung is the most general place for it to spread. The study authors claimed that renal cell carcinoma is often curable by surgery, but only if it is not spread. They further shared that this type of cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy or radiation.

Dr. Leibovich affirmed, “Mayo Clinic maintains a Renal Nephrectomy Registry that presents 30 years of renal cancer surgery outcome metrics. Our analysis shows that a significant proportion of patients with multiple renal cell carcinoma metastases will experience better outcomes if all metastases are removed.”

The authors conducted an analysis by comparing the survival of three groups of cancer patients. All the patients initially had their kidneys removed as a part of the treatment to the disease. All these patients underwent the treatment at Mayo Clinic itself from 1976–2006. Approximately 506 patients comprising a total of 57% who did not undergo any surgical removal of the metastatic tumor appeared to display a specific survival of 1.1 years. Patients who had their spreading ca removed but apparently did not finish their surgical removal showed a specific survival of 2.6 years. These were a total of 257 patients i.e. 29%. But a survival rate of 4.8 years appeared in 125 patients who formed 14%. All these patients registered to have completely discarded all their visible tumor tissues.

The authors determined that the location of metastases also plays a vital role in the survival of the patient. So cancer spread to only the lung enhanced the survival of the patient because they had to undergo a complete removal of the lung lesion. The survival of patients decreased due to removal of tumors all over the body.

Survival of the patient varied with the location of metastases too. So patients whose cancer was spread to only the lung have to get their lung lesion completely discarded to face better outcomes. On the other hand patients who have their tumors removed from all the places may display comparatively poorer results. The analyses further showed that the lung group had a median cancer-specific survival rate (CSS) computed in terms of the cancer, not other causes of death, was more than 10 years. A median CSS rate of 3.6 years was estimated for patients going through the eradication of tumors from all the other locations.

The study was presented at the American Urological Association meeting in San Francisco.