Delayed Intervention of Small Renal Masses on Active Surveillance

Mohit Gupta, Michael Blute, Jr, Li-Ming Su, Paul Crispen


Although surgical excision is the standard of therapy for small renal masses (SRMs), there is a growing recognition of active surveillance as an option in select patients who are poor surgical candidates or who have shorter life expectancy. A number of patients on expectant management, however, subsequently advance to definitive therapy. In this study, we systematically reviewed the literature and performed a pooled analysis of active surveillance series to evaluate the rate and indications for definitive treatment after initiating a period of active surveillance. Fourteen clinical series (1245 patients; 1364 lesions) met our selection criteria. Mean lesion size at presentation was 2.30 ± 0.40 cm with a mean follow-up of 33.6 ± 16.9 months. Collectively, 34.0% of patients underwent delayed intervention, which ranged in individual series from 3.6% to 70.3%. Of patients undergoing delayed intervention, the average time on active surveillance prior to definitive treatment was 27.8 ± 10.6 months. A pooled analysis revealed that 41.0% of patients underwent therapy secondary to tumor growth rate and 51.9% secondary to patient or physician preference in the absence of clinical progression. Overall, 1.1% of all patients progressed to metastatic disease during the average follow-up period. Thus, active surveillance may be an appropriate option for carefully selected patients with SRMs. However, delayed treatment is pursued in a significant percentage of patients within 3 years. Prospective registries and clinical trials with standardized indications for delayed intervention are needed to establish true rates of disease progressions and recommendations for delayed intervention.


Renal cell carcinoma, renal mass, active surveillance, small renal mass (SRM)

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Copyright (c) 2017 Mohit Gupta, Paul Crispen, Michael Blute, Jr, Li-Ming Su

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.