Purpose: To determine the incidence of trocar site spillage, local recurrence, and metastatic disease associated with retroperitoneal laparoscopic tumor resection.
Methods: From 1994 to 1999, 228 retroperitoneal laparoscopic procedures were performed at our institution. Fifty-six procedures (24.6%) were for malignancies and comprised 41 radical nephrectomies and 8 partial nephrectomies for renal tumors, and 7 nephro-ureterectomies for renal pelvis tumors. The pathological stage and the status of surgical margins were noted according to the 1997 TNM classification. Postoperative follow-up data were obtained by means of physical and radiological examinations after 1 and 3 months, and then half-yearly. Trocar site seeding, local recurrence and metastatic disease were recorded. Kaplan-Meier actuarial analysis was used to determine the disease-free survival likelihood.
Results: The mean follow-up was 24.9+/-13.85 months. All the patients had tumor-free surgical margins. No laparoscopic trocar site recurrences were identified. For laparoscopic radical nephrectomy: one patient had a local recurrence with hepatic metastasis of a pT(3)G(2) tumor after 9 months and died 19.7 months after the procedure. One patient with a pT(3a)G(3)M+ tumor died 23.1 months after radical nephrectomy without any sign of local recurrence. For laparoscopic nephro-ureterectomy: one patient with a pT(3)G(3) tumor had a local recurrence 12.1 months after the procedure and died 26.6 months after surgery. One patient with a pT(1)G(2) renal pelvis tumor had bone metastasis at 9 months and died 29 months after the procedure. The Kaplan-Meier actuarial disease-free survival rate was 91% at 54 months for radical nephrectomy, 61% at 30 months for nephro-ureterectomy and 100% at 49 months for partial nephrectomy.
Conclusion: Malignancies of the upper urinary tract can be managed by means of retroperitoneal laparoscopy. Short-term results suggest that this procedure is not associated with an increased risk of portsite or local recurrence, and that disease-free survival is equivalent to that obtained with open surgery.