Performance status and cytoreductive nephrectomy: redefining management in patients with poor performance

Cancer. 2008 Sep 15;113(6):1324-31. doi: 10.1002/cncr.23708.


Background: An Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status (ECOG PS) of 2/3 can quantify cancer patients' well being and may be used to select patients for treatment. The objective of the current study was to investigate the outcomes of cytoreductive nephrectomy (CN) for patients who have an impaired performance status (ECOG PS 2/3).

Methods: Patients who underwent CN for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) between 1989 and 2006 were identified. Patient records were reviewed for age, symptoms, ECOG PS, tumor size, stage, grade, histology, sarcomatoid features, lymph node metastasis, site of metastasis, and the presence of bone metastases (BM) in weight-bearing structures. The relation of ECOG PS to outcome variables was evaluated.

Results: Four hundred eighteen patients underwent CN, including 117 patients who had an ECOG PS of 0, 274 patients who had an ECOG PS of 1, and 27 patients who had an ECOG PS of 2/3. Patients who had a worse ECOG PS were younger, had higher tumor classification and grade, and more frequently demonstrated anemia and BM. Only 37.5% of patients who had an ECOG PS of 2/3 experienced an improvement in performance in the postoperative period, and only 57.5% went on to receive systemic therapy, of whom none attained an objective responses. The median disease-specific survival for patients who had an ECOG PS of 0, 1, and 2/3 was 27 months, 13.8 months, and 6.6 months, respectively (P<.001). Patients who had an ECOG PS of 2/3 could be stratified further by the presence or absence of BM into 2 groups (median disease-specific survival: 17.7 months and 2.1 months, respectively; P = .006).

Conclusions: Surgery in patients who have a poor performance may serve a palliative function but should be performed with caution because of the poor outcome of such patients. ECOG PS is influenced strongly by BM. A subset of patients with an ECOG PS of 2/3 that are symptomatic specifically from BM may derive greater benefit from CN than patients who hare symptomatic because of visceral metastases.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / secondary
  • Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell / surgery
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / surgery
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery*
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Nephrectomy*
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome