Triggers for delayed intervention in patients with small renal masses undergoing active surveillance: A systematic review

on behalf of the European Society of Residents in Urology (ESRU), EAU Young Academic Urologists (YaU) Renal Cancer group

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


INTRODUCTION: Patients with small renal masses (SRM) can be exposed to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. as such, active surveillance (AS) is recommended by all guidelines for selected patients. However, it remains underutilized. one key reason is the lack of consensus on the factors prompting delayed intervention (DI). Herein we provide an updated overview of the triggers for DI in patients with SRMs initially undergoing AS. EVIDENCE ACQUISITION: A systematic review of the english-language literature was performed according to the PRISMA statement recommendations using the MEDLINE, cochrane central register of controlled Trials and Web of Science databases. EVIDENCE SYNTHESIS: O1verall, 10 prospective studies including 1870 patients were included. Median patient age ranged between 64 and 75 years, while median tumor size between 1.7 cm to 2.3 cm. The proportion of cystic SRMs ranged from 0% to 30%. Baseline renal tumor biopsy was performed in 7-45.2% of patients. among these, malignant histology was found in 28.5%-83.3% of cases. overall, the median growth rate of SRMs ranged between 0.10 and 0.27 cm/ year. The proportion of patients undergoing DI ranged between 7% and 44%, after a median AS period of 12-27 months. The most commonly performed type of DI was surgery. of resected SRMs, 0% to 30% were benign. The actual triggers for DI were either tumor-related (renal mass growth, stage progression, development of local complications/symptoms) or patient-related (patient preference, improved medical conditions, or qualification for other surgical procedures). At a median follow-up of 21.7 - 57-6 months, the proportion of patients experiencing metastatic disease, cancer-specific and other-cause mortality was 0-3.1%, 0-4% and 0-45.6%, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The available evidence shows that both tumor-related and patient-related factors are ultimate triggers for DI in patients with SRMs undergoing AS. However, the level of evidence is still low and further research is needed to individualize AS strategies according to both tumor biology and patient-related characteristics and values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-407
Number of pages19
JournalMinerva Urologica e Nefrologica
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Carcinoma, renal cell
  • Review
  • Watchful waiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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