Renal functional outcomes after surgery, ablation, and active surveillance of localized renal tumors: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article


Background and objectives Management strategies for localized renal masses suspicious for renal cell carcinoma include radical nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, thermal ablation, and active surveillance. Given favorable survival outcomes across strategies, renal preservation is often of paramount concern. To inform clinical decision making, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies comparing renal functional outcomes for radical nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, thermal ablation, and active surveillance. Design, settings, participants, & measurements We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from January 1, 1997 to May 1, 2015 to identify comparative studies reporting renal functional outcomes. Meta-analyses were performed for change in eGFR, incidence of CKD, and AKI. Results We found 58 articles reporting on relevant renal functional outcomes. Meta-analyses showed that final eGFR fell 10.5 ml/min per 1.73 m2 lower for radical nephrectomy compared with partial nephrectomy and indicated higher risk of CKD stage 3 or worse (relative risk, 2.56; 95% confidence interval, 1.97 to 3.32) and ESRD for radical nephrectomy compared with partial nephrectomy. Overall risk of AKI was similar for radical nephrectomy and partial nephrectomy, but studies suggested higher risk for radical nephrectomy among T1a tumors (relative risk, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.13 to 1.66). In general, similar findings of worse renal function for radical nephrectomy compared with thermal ablation and active surveillance were observed. No differences in renal functional outcomes were observed for partial nephrectomy versus thermal ablation. The overall rate of ESRD was low among all management strategies (0.4%–2.8%). Conclusions Renal functional implications varied across management strategies for localized renal masses, with worse postoperative renal function for patients undergoing radical nephrectomy compared with other strategies and similar outcomes for partial nephrectomy and thermal ablation. Further attention is needed to quantify the changes in renal function associated with active surveillance and nephron-sparing approaches for patients with preexisting CKD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1057-1069
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 7 2017



  • Acute kidney injury
  • Acute kidney injury
  • Attention
  • Carcinoma, renal cell
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Clinical decision-making
  • Confidence intervals
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney
  • Kidney failure, chronic
  • Kidney neoplasms
  • Nephrectomy
  • Nephrons
  • Outcome studies
  • Renal insufficiency, chronic
  • Risk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • Transplantation

Cite this