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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Tumor thrombus of inferior vena cava in patients with renal cell carcinoma – clinical and oncological outcome of 50 patients after surgery

Daniel Claudius Vergho*, Andreas Loeser, Arkadius Kocot, Martin Spahn and Hubertus Riedmiller

Author Affiliations

Department of Urology, Julius Maximilian University Medical School, Oberduerrbacher Str. 6, D-97080, Würzburg, Germany

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:264  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-264

Published: 1 June 2012

Abstract

Background

To evaluate oncological and clinical outcome in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and tumor thrombus involving inferior vena cava (IVC) treated with nephrectomy and thrombectomy.

Methods

We identified 50 patients with a median age of 65 years, who underwent radical surgical treatment for RCC and tumor thrombus of the IVC between 1997 and 2010. The charts were reviewed for pathological and surgical parameters, as well as complications and oncological outcome.

Results

The median follow-up was 26 months. In 21 patients (42%) distant metastases were already present at the time of surgery. All patients underwent radical nephrectomy, thrombectomy and lymph node dissection through a flank (15 patients/30%), thoracoabdominal (14 patients/28%) or midline abdominal approach (21 patients/42%), depending upon surgeon preference and upon the characteristics of tumor and associated thrombus. Extracorporal circulation with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) was performed in 10 patients (20%) with supradiaphragmal thrombus of IVC. Cancer-specific survival for the whole cohort at 5 years was 33.1%. Survival for the patients without distant metastasis at 5 years was 50.7%, whereas survival rate in the metastatic group at 5 years was 7.4%. Median survival of patients with metastatic disease was 16.4 months.

On multivariate analysis lymph node invasion, distant metastasis and grading were independent prognostic factors. There was no statistically significant influence of level of the tumor thrombus on survival rate. Indeed, patients with supradiaphragmal tumor thrombus (n = 10) even had a better outcome (overall survival at 5 years of 58.33%) than the entire cohort.

Conclusions

An aggressive surgical approach is the most effective therapeutic option in patients with RCC and any level of tumor thrombus and offers a reasonable longterm survival. Due to good clinical and oncological outcome we prefer the use of CPB with extracorporal circulation in patients with supradiaphragmal tumor thrombus. Cytoreductive surgery appears to be beneficial for patients with metastatic disease, especially when consecutive therapy is performed. Although sample size of our study cohort is limited consistent with some other studies lymph node invasion, distant metastasis and grading seem to have prognostic value.

Keywords:
Renal cell carcinoma; Inferior vena cava; Thrombectomy; Tumor thrombus