Objectives. Previous reports indicate that up to 10% of patients with localized renal cell carcinoma have direct intracaval neoplastic extension. Many patients with locally confined tumors and small intracaval tumor extensions can be surgically cured. Few studies have documented long-term survival after radical surgery for renal cell carcinoma involving higher vena caval tumor extension. We report the follow-up of 34 consecutive patients undergoing radical nephrectomy and intrahepatic or supradiaphragmatic intracaval thrombectomy for renal cell carcinoma. Methods. From October 1982 through January 1993, 34 consecutive patients with a mean age of 60 years were identified as having clinical Stage T3 renal cell carcinoma (mean diameter 9.5 ± 4.0 cm) with intrahepatic (41%) or supradiaphragmatic (59%) intracaval neoplastic extension. Patients underwent radical nephrectomy with intrahepatic caval thrombectomy (38%) or supradiaphragmatic caval thrombectomy using cardiac bypass with hypothermia and circulatory arrest (62%). Clinical outcome was assessed during a mean follow-up of 30 months (range 1 to 182). Results. A total of 24 (71%) of 34 tumors demonstrated capsular penetration, and 22 (65%) of 34 had significant perinephric extension into Gerota's fascia by pathologic analysis. Metastatic disease was identified in 35% of patients either at the time of surgery or by pathologic analysis. Using Kaplan-Meier actuarial analysis, the likelihood of survival for all 34 consecutive patients after surgery was 68% (95% confidence interval [CI] 49% to 81%) at 1 year, 32% (95% CI 18% to 48%) at 2 years, 14% (95% CI 5% to 28%) at 5 years, and 9% (95% CI 2% to 24%) at 10 years. Neither capsular penetration, perinephric extension, the level of intracaval extension of tumor, nor the use of cardiopulmonary bypass significantly affected survival. Conclusions. In patients with renal cell carcinoma and intrahepatic or supradiaphragmatic intracaval extension of tumor, the presence of metastases is a frequent occurrence and, if present, greatly diminishes survival. Improvements in the preoperative detection of occult metastases are needed if surgery alone is to improve survival.
ASJC Scopus subject areas