Close Monitoring of Renal Tumors May Provide Alternative to Surgery
In patients with small renal tumors confined to the kidneys, close, active monitoring, as opposed to immediate surgery, is associated with low rates of tumor growth or death, according to a study by researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, published in the September issue of the Journal of Urology.
Although surgical excision of tumors remains the standard of care for renal tumors that have not yet spread (localized), the risk of complications in elderly or ill patients may outweigh the benefits of surgery. The study suggests that actively monitoring renal tumors in some patients may prove a safer option than immediate surgery.
The incidence of kidney cancer in the United States has been increasing for two decades, with the trend partly attributed to the introduction of abdominal imaging studies such as CT scans or MRIs in the 1980’s. However, death rates due to renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) have not decreased, indicating that surgery may be of little or no benefit to some patients.
“We are beginning to better understand the behavior of tumors that grow on the kidneys,” said Reza Mehrazin, MD, Assistant Professor, Urology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the study’s lead investigator. “In some patients, particularly those who are considered elderly or ‘high risk,’ we are now more likely able to delay surgery, sometimes indefinitely.” Much of the work behind the study was completed while Dr. Mehrazin was a researcher at Fox Chase Cancer Center.
In cases which are likely to result in surgery, it is important that urologists understand the natural history of renal tumors. If surgery does prove necessary, minimally invasive surgery using robotic tools may be possible. For example, a robotic partial nephrectomy provides the surgeon with enhanced visualization and precision during the procedure, which translates to significantly less blood loss. Moreover, the incisions are smaller and result in less pain and shorter recovery time and hospital stay.
“Patients diagnosed with renal tumors have more options than ever before, said Dr. Mehrazin. “Surgery is not always the best solution. It is vital that patients consult with their urologists to explore all options and make the best treatment decision for that particular case.”
About Fox Chase Cancer Center
Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet status for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. For more information, visit Fox Chase’s Web site at www.foxchase.org or call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).
About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Gynecology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Orthopedics in the 2019-2020 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 12th nationally for Ophthalmology and the South Nassau Communities Hospital is ranked 35th nationally for Urology. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.