Active Surveillance is Superior to Radical Nephrectomy and Equivalent to Partial Nephrectomy for Preserving Renal Function in Patients with Small Renal Masses: Results from the DISSRM Registry

J Urol. 2015 Oct;194(4):903-9. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2015.03.093. Epub 2015 Mar 23.


Purpose: We compared renal function outcomes among patients in the surveillance and intervention arms of the DISSRM registry.

Materials and methods: Patients were grouped into chronic kidney disease stages by estimated glomerular filtration rate range. Cases were considered up staged if a more advanced chronic kidney disease stage was entered during followup. Chronic kidney disease up staging-free survival was compared among groups using Kaplan-Meier analysis and paired comparisons log rank tests. Multivariate Cox regression identified independent predictors of chronic kidney disease up staging-free survival.

Results: A total of 162 patients met the study inclusion criteria, with 68 in the surveillance arm, 65 undergoing partial nephrectomy, 15 undergoing radical nephrectomy and 14 undergoing cryoablation. Median tumor size was 2.2 cm. Mean estimated glomerular filtration rate change was significantly larger for radical nephrectomy vs surveillance (-9.2 vs -0.5 ml/minute/1.73 m(2)) and for radical vs partial nephrectomy (-9.2 vs -1.9 ml/minute/1.73 m(2)) (p=0.001). No other groups differed significantly. On Kaplan-Meier analysis patients undergoing radical nephrectomy had significantly worse chronic kidney disease up staging-free survival vs those treated with partial nephrectomy (p=0.029), surveillance (p=0.007) and cryoablation (p=0.019). No other groups differed significantly. On multivariate analysis radical nephrectomy independently predicted poor chronic kidney disease up staging-free survival (odds ratio vs surveillance 30.6, p=0.001). Neither partial nephrectomy (p=0.985) nor cryoablation (p=0.976) predicted poor chronic kidney disease up staging-free survival relative to surveillance.

Conclusions: Patients in the surveillance arm had superior estimated glomerular filtration rate preservation compared to those in the radical nephrectomy but not the partial nephrectomy arm. In certain patients with small renal masses surveillance and partial nephrectomy may offer comparable renal functional outcomes. This could be partly attributable to a modest estimated glomerular filtration rate decrease associated with surveillance itself. A thorough understanding of the renal functional impacts of treatment modalities is critical in the management of small renal masses.

Keywords: glomerular filtration rate; kidney neoplasms; nephrectomy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Study
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cryosurgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrectomy / methods*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Registries
  • Tumor Burden
  • Watchful Waiting*