From May 1985 to December 1990, 93 patients with the clinical diagnosis of metastatic renal cell carcinoma and their primary tumor in place were evaluated for cytoreductive surgery as preparation for systemic therapy with regimens based on interleukin-2. These patients had typical sites of metastatic disease and manifestations of paraneoplastic syndromes. Patients underwent removal of the primary tumor, as well as debulking when this could be performed safely. Thirty-two percent of patients ( 30 93) had a second surgical resection in addition to their nephrectomy, frequently because of the large size of the primary tumor and its invasion of adjacent structures. Thirteen percent of patients ( 12 93) experienced postoperative complications. There were no perioperative mortalities. Forty percent of patients (37/93) who underwent nephrectomy could not be treated with immunotherapy, usually because of progression of disease. A preoperative ECOG status greater than or equal to 2 was the only significant risk factor associated with failure to undergo immunotherapy (P = 0.043). The response rate to immunotherapy in the 56 patients receiving interleukin-2 was 27 percent (4 CR, 11 PR).
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