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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Outcomes of pathologic stage T3a renal cell carcinoma up-staged from small renal tumor: emphasis on partial nephrectomy

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Hakmin Lee, Minseung Lee, Sang Eun Lee, Seok-Soo Byun, Hyeon Hoe Kim, Cheol Kwak, Sung Kyu Hong



The prognosis of patients with pathologic stage T3a renal cell carcinoma (RCC) that is up-staged from a small renal tumor remains controversial. We evaluated the prognosis of patients with RCC who were up-staged from clinical stage T1 to pathologic stage T3a.


We retrospectively reviewed the data of 3431 patients who were surgically treated for clinical stage T1 RCC. The survival outcomes were compared using Kaplan-Meier and Cox proportional analyses.


Among the clinical stage T1 patients, 215 (6.3%) were finally up-staged to pathologic stage T3a. Patient age (HR 1.302, 95% CI 1.018–1.046, p <  0.001), tumor diameter (HR 1.686, 95% CI 1.551–1.834, p <  0.001), and hilar location (HR 1.765, 95% CI 1.147–2.715, p = 0.010) were significantly associated with upstaging. Kaplan-Meier analyses showed significantly shorter recurrence-free, cancer-specific and overall survivals (all p <  0.001) in patients who were up-staged. Multivariate Cox analyses revealed pathologic upstaging as an independent predictor of shorter recurrence-free (HR 2.195, 95% CI 1.459–3.300, p <  0.001), cancer-specific (HR 2.238, 95% CI 1.252–4.003, p = 0.007), and overall survivals (HR 1.632, 95% CI 1.029–2.588, p = 0.037). Subgroup analysis of pathologic stage T3a showed no significant difference in survival of the partial nephrectomy group when compared to the radical nephrectomy group (all p > 0.5).


Patients up-staged from clinical stage T1 to pathologic stage T3a RCC showed shorter survival outcomes than those without upstaging. However, partial nephrectomy, compared with radical nephrectomy, showed comparable outcomes in patients who were up-staged.
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