Local treatment of metastases such as metastasectomy or radiotherapy remains controversial in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. To investigate the benefits and harms of various local treatments, we did a systematic review of all types of comparative studies on local treatment of metastases from renal cell carcinoma in any organ. Interventions included metastasectomy, radiotherapy modalities, and no local treatment. The results suggest that patients treated with complete metastasectomy have better survival and symptom control (including pain relief in bone metastases) than those treated with either incomplete or no metastasectomy. Nevertheless, the available evidence was marred by high risks of bias and confounding across all studies. Although the findings presented here should be interpreted with caution, they and the identified gaps in knowledge should provide guidance for clinicians and researchers, and directions for further research.
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