Robotic versus laparoscopic radical nephrectomy: a large multi-institutional analysis (ROSULA Collaborative Group)



To compare the outcomes of robotic radical nephrectomy (RRN) to those of laparoscopic radical nephrectomy (LRN) for large renal masses.


This was a retrospective analysis of RRN and LRN cases performed for large (≥ cT2) renal masses from 2004 to 2017 and collected in the multi-institutional international database (ROSULA: RObotic SUrgery for LArge renal masses). Peri-operative, functional, and oncologic outcomes were compared between each approach. Descriptive analyses were performed and presented as medians with interquartile ranges. Inverse probability of treatment weighting-adjusted multivariable analyses were used to identify predictors of peri-operative complications. Kaplan–Meier analysis and Cox regression models were used to assess survival outcomes.


A total of 941 patients (RRN = 404, LRN = 537) were identified. There was no difference in terms of gender, age, and clinical tumor size. Over the study period, RRN had an annual increase of 11.75% (95% CI [7.34, 17.01] p < 0.001) and LRN had an annual decline of 5.39% (95% CI [−6.94, −3.86] p < 0.001). Patients undergoing RRN had higher BMI (27.6 [IQR 24.8–31.1] vs. 26.5 [24.1–30.0] kg/m2, p < 0.01). Operative duration was longer for RRN (185.0 [150.0–237.2] vs. 126 [90.8–180.0] min, p < 0.001). Length of stay was shorter for RRN (3.0 [2.0–4.0] vs. 5.0 [4.0–7.0] days, p < 0.001). RRN cases presented more advanced disease (higher pathologic staging [pT3–4 52.5 vs. 24.2%, p < 0.001], histologic grade [high grade 49.3 vs. 30.4%, p < 0.001], and rate of nodal disease [pN1 5.4 vs. 1.9%, p < 0.01]). Surgical approach did not represent an independent risk factor for peri-operative complications (OR 1.81 95% CI [0.97–3.39], adjusted p = 0.2). The main study limitation is the retrospective design.


This study represents the largest known multi-center comparison between RRN and LRN. The two procedures seem to offer similar peri-operative outcomes. Notably, RRN has been increasingly utilized, especially in the setting of more advanced and surgically challenging disease without increasing the risk of peri-operative complications.

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Author information




Protocol/project development: RA, UAA, ID, FP. Data collection or management: UAA, MCM, NL, AM, KC, CF, JS, WW, GQ, AB, AA, FB, CZ, AL, PK, ML. Data analysis: UAA, MM. Manuscript writing: RA, UAA, ID. Manuscript editing: BY, GS, RGU, CL, MCM, UC, JP, AM, WW, SP, LS, MG, MR-B, CPS, AM, AK, KHR, PD, BC, LJH, FP, MA.

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Correspondence to Riccardo Autorino.

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Research involving human participants and/or animals

The ROSULA database is an IRB-approved study at the participating centers.

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Patients included in this retrospective analysis had signed an informed consent at the time of surgery.

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Anele, U.A., Marchioni, M., Yang, B. et al. Robotic versus laparoscopic radical nephrectomy: a large multi-institutional analysis (ROSULA Collaborative Group). World J Urol 37, 2439–2450 (2019).

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  • Radical nephrectomy
  • Robotic
  • Laparoscopic
  • Comparative outcomes
  • Complications