Blog - Latest News

April 2017 #urojc summary: Is SABR a viable therapeutic option for managing renal tumors in patients deemed unsuitable for surgery?

saji_author-photo5April 2017 #urojc summary: Is SABR a viable therapeutic option for managing renal tumors in patients deemed unsuitable for surgery?

In April 2017, the International Twitter-based Urology Journal Club (@iurojc) #urojc reviewed an interesting recent article by Siva et. Al reporting their experience in a prospective cohort study utilizing Stereotactic Ablative Body Radiotherapy (SABR) on inoperable primary renal cell carcinomas. The article was made freely available courtesy of BJUI for the duration of the discussion ( The journal club ran for 48 hours beginning on April 2nd at 21:00 UTC. The first author of the manuscript, Dr. Shankar Siva, a radiation oncologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Center joined the discussion using the Twitter handle @_ShankarSiva.

The study enrolled 37 total patients (T1a n=13, T1b n=23, and T2a n=1) due to one of three reasons: (1) deemed medically inoperable (n=28 Charlson Comorbidity >6), (2) high-risk group for surgery (n=11 high risk post-surgical dialysis), (3) refused surgery (n=1). The primary outcome measured was the successful delivery of radiotherapy. Secondary outcomes included (1) adverse events of radiotherapy, (2) local progression of the disease, (3) distant progression of the disease, and (4) overall survival.

@iurojc kicked things off with a starter question

There was immediate debate regarding the validity of treating patients with inoperable tumors using alternative modalities.

@PatrickKenneyMD cited a retrospective analysis by Kutikov et. al (@uretericbud) of the SEER database on competing causes of mortality in elderly patients with localized RCC. The study reported the 5-year probability of mortality from non-cancer related etiology to be 11% while the RCC related mortality probability was 4%. The authors of the paper encourage that management decisions for localized RCC in older patients should take into account competing causes of mortality. @DrewMoghanaki argued that many patients will still suffer from the sequelae of cancer progression that could be prevented by treating with non-surgical modalities such as SABR.
@_ShankarSiva chimed in

@uretericbud questioned the comparison of two discrepant neoplasms

@_ShankarSiva explained

From Belgium, an important point was made about the question itself.

While this conversation was occurring, a lively discussion on the utility of SABR compared to other established non-surgical modalities was taking place.

@_ShankarSiva replied

Next, @CanesDavid posed a question regarding the most frequent factors of surgical disqualification in the cohort

@benchallacombe noted a limitation of the study which led to a discussion of the utility of one of the four secondary outcomes of the study- local progression.

@nickbrookMD (co-author) cited an article by Crispen et. al that characterized the growth rate of untreated solid enhancing renal masses. @Rad_Nation proposed two follow-up studies that could be conducted.

Even if these studies are conducted, there is skepticism around whether Urologists will view SBRT as a viable alternative treatment modality for RCC.

@iurojc posed an important question. What should be the overall goal of the urologist? Is it to cure cancer by all means? Or perhaps to find a balance between quality of life and management of the disease? SBRT may play a crucial role in the latter situation.

To wrap things up, @iurojc asked a summary question.

The authors of the manuscript provided a response and their thoughts on what needs to be done next.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the April 2017 #urojc. Special thanks to the authors @_ShankarSiva and @nickbrookMD for joining in on the discussion and providing further insight to their work.

Akhil Saji is a third-year medical student at New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY.

Twitter @AkhilASaji



1. Siva, Shankar, et al. “Stereotactic ablative body radiotherapy for inoperable primary kidney cancer: a prospective clinical trial.” BJU international (2017)

2. Kutikov, Alexander, et al. “Evaluating overall survival and competing risks of death in patients with localized renal cell carcinoma using a comprehensive nomogram.” Journal of Clinical Oncology 28.2 (2009): 311-317.

3. Crispen, Paul L., et al. “Predicting growth of solid renal masses under active surveillance.” Urologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations. Vol. 26. No. 5. Elsevier, 2008


© 2020 BJU International. All Rights Reserved.