Optimizing patient selection for cytoreductive nephrectomy based on outcomes in the contemporary era of systemic therapy

Cancer. 2020 Sep 1;126(17):3950-3960. doi: 10.1002/cncr.32991. Epub 2020 Jun 9.


Background: The management of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) has evolved rapidly, and results from the Cancer du Rein Metastatique Nephrectomie et Antiangiogéniques (CARMENA) trial bring into question the utility of cytoreductive nephrectomy (CN). The objective of this study was to examine overall survival (OS) and identify risk factors associated with patients less likely to benefit from CN in the targeted therapy era.

Methods: Patients with mRCC undergoing CN from 2005 to 2017 were identified. Kaplan-Meier methods and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to assess OS and risk-stratify patients, respectively, on the basis of preoperative clinical and laboratory data.

Results: Six hundred eight patients were eligible with a median follow-up of 29.4 months. Ninety-five percent of the patients had an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status less than or equal to 1, and 70% had a single site of metastatic disease. In a multivariable analysis, risk factors significantly associated with decreased OS included systemic symptoms at diagnosis, retroperitoneal and supradiaphragmatic lymphadenopathy, bone metastasis, clinical T4 disease, a hemoglobin level less than the lower limit of normal (LLN), a serum albumin level less than the LLN, a serum lactate dehydrogenase level greater than the upper limit of normal, and a neutrophil/lymphocyte ratio greater than or equal to 4. Patients were stratified into 3 risk groups: low (fewer than 2 risk factors), intermediate (2-3 risk factors), and high (more than 3 risk factors). These groups had median OS of 58.9 months (95% confidence interval [CI], 44.3-66.6 months), 30.6 months (95% CI, 27.0-35.0 months), and 19.2 months (95% CI, 13.9-22.6 months), respectively (P < .0001). The median time to postoperative systemic therapy was 45 days (interquartile range, 30-90 days).

Conclusions: Patients with more than 3 risk factors did not seem to benefit from CN. Importantly, OS in this group was equivalent to, if not higher than, OS for patients in the CN plus sunitinib arm of CARMENA, and this raises the possibility that a well-selected population might benefit from CN.

Keywords: cytoreductive surgery; nephrectomy; renal cell carcinoma; urologic neoplasms.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Bone Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Bone Neoplasms / pathology
  • Bone Neoplasms / secondary
  • Bone Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / surgery*
  • Cytoreduction Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Disease-Free Survival
  • Female
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Nephrectomy / adverse effects
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Patient Selection*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Factors
  • Sunitinib / administration & dosage
  • Sunitinib / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hemoglobins
  • Sunitinib