Current Urology Reports

, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 19–25 | Cite as

The Role of Metastasectomy in Renal Cell Carcinoma in the Era of Targeted Therapy

  • Börje Ljungberg
Kidney Diseases (G Ciancio, Section Editor)


Despite contemporary innovations in systemic therapy and surgical treatment, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains the most lethal urologic malignancy. Still, around 20 % of patients with RCC present with metastases at diagnosis, and 40–50 % of those with localized advanced disease will ultimately progress to metastatic disease. Although the new, targeted therapy paradigms have changed the treatment of patients with advanced RCC and offer prolonged survival, cure is extremely uncommon in the absence of surgical resections. In this paper, the current role of metastasectomy is reviewed. Searches were carried out in the PubMed database and the Cochrane Library of Controlled Clinical Trials. While there is no randomized study available, recent large observational studies have better defined the prognosis of patients with metastatic RCC with or without metastasectomy. In multivariate analysis, independent predictive factors included male gender, disease-free interval > 1 year, single metastatic site and complete metastasectomy. Other reports from selected patient materials show 29–31 % 5-year overall survival rates. In patients with recurrent disease after resection of a lung metastasis, 60 % were able to undergo a subsequent resection, compared with 25 % with recurrent bone metastasis. Also, metastasectomy after initial systemic therapy gave partial or complete response in a majority of patients. In these patients, the median survival was 4.7 years and 21 % remained free of disease at last follow-up. Patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma should be considered for multimodal therapy, including surgery of metastatic lesions. A proportion of patients will achieve long-term survival with aggressive surgical resection.


Renal cell carcinoma Metastases Metastasectomy Survival Targeted agents 



This review was supported by grants from The Swedish Cancer Society and Lions Cancer Research Foundation in Umeå.


The author wishes to disclose that he has received payment for consultancy with Bayer, Novartis, GCK, Roche, and Pfizer.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgical and Perioperative SciencesUrology and Andrology, Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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