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European UrologyVolume 52, issue 3, pages 623-938, September 2007
A Critical Analysis of Surgery for Kidney Cancer with Vena Cava Invasion
Accepted 11 May 2007, Published online 24 May 2007, pages 658 - 662
Patients with kidney cancer with venous system involvement are at high risk of cancer recurrence even after the tumor thrombus is successfully removed. This review analyzes the impact on prognosis of the level of involvement of the inferior vena cava (IVC) in renal cell carcinoma (RCC).
A literature search was done and relevant papers were reviewed. Relatively recent papers as well as large series or papers from expert centers are included in the reference list.
Venous invasion in RCC is a major challenge for urologists and patients with venous involvement have a worse prognosis. Although successful removal of a tumor thrombus in the renal vein and IVC may result in improved long-term survival in more than half of the affected patients, a higher level of thrombus appears to be a bad prognosticator for cancer recurrence. A complete IVC thrombectomy, even in the metastatic setting, provides a better quality of life and may prolong survival.
Because surgery still remains the most effective therapeutic option in patients wtih RCC, every attempt should be made to completely remove the IVC thrombus. New targeted agents could be promising as adjuvant therapy in this subset of patients.
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