Objectives: The aim of the study is to evaluate the impact of nephron-sparing surgery on postoperative quality of life (QOL) in patients with localized renal cell carcinoma, compared with radical nephrectomy.
Methods: From 1986 to 1996, a total of 66 patients with localized small renal cell carcinoma <4 cm in diameter and a functioning contralateral renal unit underwent radical nephrectomy (n = 51) or nephron-sparing surgery (n = 15). Of these, 50 patients evaluated various dimensions of QOL using standardized self-rating questionnaires, EORTC QLQ-C30.
Results: There is no significant difference in 5-year overall survival between the nephron-sparing surgery group and the radical nephrectomy group. With regard to postoperative QOL, patients who underwent nephron-sparing surgery showed a significantly higher score on physical function than patients treated with radical nephrectomy (p<0.05). Nephron-sparing surgery was additionally superior to radical nephrectomy in terms of fatigue, sleep disturbance, pain and constipation.
Conclusion: Selected patients with localized, small, unilateral renal cell carcinoma and a normal contralateral kidney will benefit from nephron-sparing surgery.