Background: Local lymph node involvement in adults with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is associated with poor outcome. The prognostic significance of local lymph node involvement in children with RCC has not been studied systematically.
Methods: A retrospective review of patients treated at St Jude Children's Research Hospital (Memphis, TN) and an extensive review of the medical literature were undertaken to evaluate the prognostic significance of local lymph node involvement in pediatric RCC.
Results: Thirteen patients with the diagnosis of RCC were treated at St. Jude since the hospital's inception in 1962. Four patients presented with lymph node-positive, distant metastasis-negative (N + M0) disease, and all 4 remain disease free after resection without adjuvant therapy (follow-up duration, 2-9 years). A systematic review of the literature including 243 pediatric patients with RCC revealed stage-specific survival rates of 92.5%, 84.6%, 72.7%, and 12.7% for Stage I-IV disease, respectively. Of 58 children with N + M0 RCC for whom outcome data were available, 42 (72.4%) were alive without disease at last follow-up. Among patients whose therapy could be discerned, those who received no adjuvant therapy fared as well (15 of 16 alive) as those who received various adjuvant treatments (22 of 31 alive).
Conclusions: Children with lymph node-positive RCC in the absence of distant metastatic disease had a relatively favorable long-term prognosis, with survival rate nearly triple those of adult historical controls. Until highly effective therapies for RCC are identified, these children should not be exposed to adjuvant treatment. Further investigation of the biologic differences between adult and pediatric RCC is warranted.
(c) 2004 American Cancer Society.