Tag Archive for: nephron-sparing surgery

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Article of the week: Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy

Every week, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is a video produced by the authors. Please use the tools at the bottom of the post if you would like to make a comment. 

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Suture techniques during laparoscopic and robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy: a systematic review and quantitative synthesis of peri‐operative outcomes

Riccardo Bertolo*, Riccardo Campi, Tobias Klatte, Maximilian C. Kriegmair§Maria Carmen Mir, Idir Ouzaid**, Maciej Salagierski††, Sam Bhayani‡‡, Inderbir Gill§§¶¶Jihad Kaouk* and Umberto Capitanio‡‡§§***††† On behalf of the Young Academic Urologists (YAU) Kidney Cancer working group of the European Urological Association (EAU)

 

*Department of Urology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, OH, USA, Department of Urology, University of Florence, Florence, Italy, Department of Urology, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Bournemouth, UK, §Department of Urology, University Medical Centre Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany, Department of Urology, Fundación Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain, **Department of Urology, Bichat Hospital, APHP, Paris Diderot University, Paris, France, ††Urology Department, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Zielona ra, Zielona Góra, Poland, ‡‡Division of Urology, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, §§Keck School of Medicine, USC Institute of Urology, ¶¶Catherine and Joseph Aresty Department of Urology, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, ***Department of Urology, San Raffaele ScientifiInstitute, and †††Division of Experimental Oncology/Unit of Urology, URI, IRCCS San Raffaele Hospital, Milan, Italy

 

Abstract

Objective

To summarize the available evidence on renorrhaphy techniques and to assess their impact on peri‐operative outcomes after minimally invasive partial nephrectomy (MIPN).

Materials and Methods

A systematic review of the literature was performed in January 2018 without time restrictions, using MEDLINE, Cochrane and Web of Science databases according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses statement recommendations. Studies providing sufficient details on renorrhaphy techniques during laparoscopic or robot‐assisted partial nephrectomy and comparative studies focused on peri‐operative outcomes were included in qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively.

Fig. 4. Integrated overview of evidence‐based technical principles for renal reconstruction during minimally invasive partial nephrectomy and suggested standardized reporting of key renorrhaphy features in clinical studies on this topic.

Results

Overall, 67 and 19 studies were included in the qualitative and quantitative analyses, respectively. The overall quality of evidence was low. Specific tumour features (i.e. size, hilar location, anatomical complexity, nearness to renal sinus and/or urinary collecting system), surgeon’s experience, robot‐assisted technology, as well as the aim of reducing warm ischaemia time and the amount of devascularized renal parenchyma preserved represented the key factors driving the evolution of the renorrhaphy techniques during MIPN over the past decade. Quantitative synthesis showed that running suture was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time, and lower postoperative complication and transfusion rates than interrupted suture. Barbed suture had lower operating and ischaemia time and less blood loss than non‐barbed suture. The single‐layer suture technique was associated with shorter operating and ischaemia time than the double‐layer technique. No comparisons were possible concerning renal functional outcomes because of non‐homogeneous data reporting.

Conclusions

Renorrhaphy techniques significantly evolved over the years, improving outcomes. Running suture, particularly using barbed wires, shortened the operating and ischaemia times. A further advantage could derive from avoiding a double‐layer suture.

 

 

 

Article of the Month: Comparing survival after RN vs NSS in RCC

Every Month, the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Month from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this month, it should be this one.

Testing the external validity of the EORTC randomized trial 30904 comparing overall survival after radical nephrectomy vs nephron-sparing surgery in contemporary North American patients with renal cell cancer

 

Firas Abdollah, * Sohrab Arora, * Nicolas von Landenberg, Philipp GildAkshay Sood, * Deepansh Dalela, * Quoc-Dien Trinh§Mani Menon, * and Craig Rogers, *

 

*Vattikuti Urology Institute, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, MI, USA, Department of Urology, Marien Hospital Herne, Ruhr-University Bochum, Herne, Germany, Department of Urology, University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg,Germany and §Division of Urological Surgery and Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

 

The European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC) randomized trial 30904 reported that for solitary renal masses ≤5 cm, radical nephrectomy (RN) was associated with a higher overall survival (OS; primary endpoint): 81%, compared with 76% for nephron-sparing surgery (NSS) at a median follow-up of 9.3 years (P = 0.03). The difference in cancer-specific mortality, however, was not significant. For histologically proven RCC, and after exclusion of patients with positive surgical margins, NSS was associated with equivalent OS compared with RN [1]. It is noteworthy that the renal function outcomes of the two groups in the trial have been reanalysed, showing that renal function does not decline over time after RN, as was expected [2].

The EORTC 30904 trial had difficulty recruiting and randomizing patients, and was criticized for not meeting the accrual goal of 1300 patients. Additionally, the generalizability of the study findings to ‘real-world’ patients has been questioned. Despite the criticism, and more than 20 retrospective studies [3, 4] showing better OS and cancer-specific survival with NSS, this randomized clinical trial (RCT) remains the only available level 1 evidence on this subject. Notably, no study to date has formally examined the external validity [5] of the trial.

For any RCT to be externally valid, its supposedly randomly selected sample must be representative of the general population seen in clinical practice. In this context, we studied patients with localized RCC treated with NSS or RN within the National Cancer Database (NCDB), in an effort to test the external validity of the EORTC 30904. Our objective was not to compare survival outcomes between the two treatment arms, as this is beyond the scope of examining the external validity of an RCT, and such analysis is already available in literature. Instead, our aim was to ascertain if the trial patients were representative of contemporary patients with RCC in the USA, using the NCDB, which captures ~70% of all incident cancer diagnoses in the USA [6].

We identified patients who met the clinical and pathological inclusion criteria of the EORTC 30904 within the NCDB from 2004 to 2013: histologically confirmed RCC; tumour size ≤5 cm; clinically node-negative, non-metastatic disease; no positive surgical margins; and no pT3/4 disease. After exclusions, there were 90 844 assessable patients within the NCDB, of whom 41 588 (45.78%) underwent RN and 49256 (54.22%) underwent NSS. The demographic characteristics, namely, age, gender (percentage of men), presence of comorbidities (yes/no), histology (clear cell/non-clear cell), Fuhrman grade (1, 2, 3 or 4) and surgical approach (open/robotic/laparoscopic) were then compared with the patients enrolled in the EORTC 30904. The statistical significance of differences in categorical variables was tested using the chi-squared test. Unfortunately, the trial did not provide measures of variance (such as standard deviation, or interquartile range) for continuously coded variables; we were therefore unable to test for the statistical significance of differences in these variables. All analyses were performed using SAS 9.4 (SAS Institute, Cary, NC, USA), with a P value <0.05 taken to indicate statistical significance.

The median age of the NCDB cohort was 60.0 years, compared with 62.0 years in the EORTC 30904. The median clinical tumour size in the NCDB was 30 mm, similar to the 30-mm tumour size observed in the trial. The percentage of men was 59.4% in the NCDB vs 65.8% in EORTC 30904 trial (P < 0.001). The NCDB cohort was healthier, with 70.03% patients having no comorbidity vs 62.8% in the trial (P < 0.001). The percentage of patients with clear-cell histology was 81.9% in the NCDB vs 62.9% in the trial (P < 0.001). The trial did not report data on race, while the NCDB had 15.6% non-white patients. Finally, the percentage of patients with high-grade disease (Fuhrman grade ≥3) was 21.1% in the NCDB vs 11.2% in the EORTC 30904 (P < 0.001; Table 1). Notably, in the EORTC 30904 trial, there was no central pathology review.

Table 1. Descriptive statistics of 391 clinically and pathologically eligible patients randomized to nephron-sparing surgery (NSS) or radical nephrectomy (RN) in the European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer randomized trial 30904 compared with 40 762 patients within the National Cancer Database with similar inclusion/exclusion criteria, who underwent NSS vs RN, between 2004 and 2013
Variable EORTC 30904 trial NCDB P
  1. EORTC 30904, European Organization for Research and Treatment of Cancer randomized trial 30904; IQR, interquartile range; NCDB, National Cancer Database.

Study period 1992–2003 2004–2013
Number of patients clinically and pathologically eligible 391 90 844
Median (IQR) age, years 62 (not provided) 60 (51–69)
Median (IQR) clinical tumour size, mm 30 (not provided) 30 (21–40)
Men, % 65.8 59.44 <0.001
Race Not provided Non-white 15.6%
Free of comorbid disease, % 62.8 70.03 <0.001
Clear cell histology, % 62.9 81.9 <0.001
Tumour grade, %
1 22.30 18.08 <0.001
2 66.60 60.78
3 10.50 19.63
4 0.70 1.51
Surgical approach (recorded in NCDB since 2010, n = 15 604), %
Open 100 39.4 <0.001
Robotic 0 34.6
Laparoscopic 0 23.5

Several important observations emerge from these results. First, age and tumour size were similar in the EORTC 30904 trial and the NCDB. These two variables are the most important determinants of mortality and stage of disease, respectively, which implies that the trial was able to recruit patients representative of those seen in ‘real-world’ clinical practice.

Second, there was a higher incidence of high-grade disease and clear-cell histology in the NCDB cohort compared with the EORTC 30904 trial. In other words, patients in the NCDB had more aggressive tumours as compared with patients in the trial. Arguably, such patients are better served with RN, which has a higher probability of completely eradicating the tumour. The survival benefit of RN observed in the trial might therefore be even more evident in clinical practice, where a higher proportion of patients harbour unpredictable aggressive disease.

Finally, the EORTC seems to have recruited patients with a higher comorbidity burden than is generally observed in clinical practice. The significance of this finding is controversial. On the one hand, it might be argued that the higher background mortality of the cohort could have masked the potential OS benefit of NSS by offering this treatment method to sicker patients with limited life expectancy [7]. On the other hand, preserving renal function might be even more important in sicker patients, who have the burden of other comorbidities [8].

The present study has some limitations. An inherent limitation of the NCDB is the lack of information on the performance status of patients. Second, the comparison was between two cohorts separated in time. The mode of treatment and thus, patient selection might have changed over time. The NCDB provides information about surgical approach starting in 2010, and indeed open surgery was performed in only 39.4% of the cases compared with 100% in the trial. More than 15% of patients in the NCDB had missing tumour grade compared with 4% in the trial; however, this proportion was equally distributed between patients undergoing RN and PN in the NCDB (data not shown). Despite the limitations, these findings are significant in the context of the recent debate on contemporary guidelines recommending NSS ‘wherever possible’ in patients with a normal contralateral kidney [9].

In conclusion, our results indicate that, although the EORTC 30904 cohort had somewhat different baseline characteristics than ‘real-world’ patients with small renal masses, none of these differences seem to have the potential to significantly alter the outcomes of the trial. The latter should therefore be considered generalizable to contemporary North American patients with renal masses ≤5 cm.

 

Editorial: Is overall survival not influenced by PN vs RN?

In this issue of the BJUI, Abdollah et al. [1] have for the first time tested the external validity of the only randomized clinical trial, 30904, run by the European Organization for the Research and Treatment of Cancer Genito-Urinary Group (EORTC GU) in the early 1990s, comparing cancer-specific survival and overall survival in patients with solitary renal masses of ≤5 cm and stage T1 and T2 in the TNM classification (in use at that time). The trial showed, as expected, that renal function was worse after radical nephrectomy (RN) and that the complication rate was higher after partial nephrectomy (PN) [2]. However, unexpectedly, overall survival after PN was not better than after RN [3], as was suggested or claimed in many non-randomized studies and also in a meta-analysis that included the EORTC 30904 trial as the only randomized clinical trial [4].

Despite a couple of limitations in the randomized trial, and it’s premature closure because of slow accrual, we performed a second analysis looking at the estimated GRF in the vast majority of the included patients and, most importantly, showed that kidney function did not progressively deteriorate after RN when the contralateral kidney was normal, and that only exceptionally did patients developed chronic kidney disease (CKD) necessitating dialysis [5].

Whilst it was anticipated that decreased kidney function should induce cardiovascular disease and increase cardiovascular death, this was separately investigated by Capitanio et al. [6] in a multicentre study where this suggestion was confirmed. However, looking at their Kaplan–Meier curves, it is clear that, although the negative impact on cardiovascular disease should become more and more obvious and accumulate over time, the split of the curves in favor of PN occurred very early after surgery. This indicates that the patients included in these non-randomized studies were different from the start, meaning that those selected for PN were ‘better’ patients who obviously had less cardiovascular disease and therefore had better cardiovascular outcomes. Another study confirmed that both PN and RN impact on cardiovascular disease [7], whilst another meta-analysis showed no difference for cardiovascular outcomes [8]. Obviously patients with preoperative CKD will benefit from nephron-sparing surgery [9], as well as those who have concomitant conditions, e.g. hypertension, diabetes, and a worse Charlson’s Comorbidity Index [10].

The authors, who tested the external validity of the EORTC 30904 trial in contemporary North American patients, need to be congratulated for the effort undertaken to show that the EORTC 30904 cohort was not significantly different from the National Cancer Database cohort in a manner that could influence the reported trial outcomes.

Hein Van Poppel* and Richard Sylvester
*UZ Leuven Urology, Leuven, Belgium and EAU Guidelines Ofce, Brussels, Belgium

 

 

References

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7 Shuch B, Hanley J, Lai J et al. Overall survival advantage with partial nephrectomy: a bias of observational data? Cancer 2013; 15: 29819

 

 

9 Woldu SL , Weinberg AC, Korets R et al. Who really benets from nephron-sparing surgery? Urology 2014; 84: 8607

 

 

Article of the Week: Predicting complications in partial nephrectomy for T1a tumours: does approach matter?

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Predicting complications in partial nephrectomy for T1a tumours: does approach matter?

Daniel Ramirez, Matthew J. Maurice, Peter A. Caputo, Ryan J. NelsonOnder Kara, Ercan Malkoc and Jihad H. Kaouk

 

Department of Urology, Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA

 

Objectives

To assess differences in complications after robot-assisted (RAPN) and open partial nephrectomy (OPN) among experienced surgeons.

Patients and Methods

We identified patients in our institutional review board-approved, prospectively maintained database who underwent OPN or RAPN for management of unifocal, T1a renal tumours at our institution between January 2011 and August 2015. The primary outcome measure was the rate of 30-day overall postoperative complications. Baseline patient factors, tumour characteristics and peri-operative factors, including approach, were evaluated to assess the risk of complications.

aotwdec-5-results

Results

Patients who underwent OPN were found to have a higher rate of overall complications (30.3% vs 18.2%; P = 0.038), with wound complications accounting for the majority of these events (11.8% vs 1.8%; P < 0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis showed the open approach to be an independent predictor of overall complications (odds ratio 1.58, 95% confidence interval 1.03–2.43; P = 0.035). Major limitations of the study include its retrospective design and potential lack of generalizability.

Conclusions

The open surgical approach predicts a higher rate of overall complications after partial nephrectomy for unifocal, T1a renal tumours. For experienced surgeons, the morbidity associated with nephron-sparing surgery may be incrementally improved using the robot-assisted approach.

Editorial: Open partial nephrectomy is still alive

In this issue of BJUI, Ramirez et al. [1] assess the peri-operative outcomes of patients with small renal tumours treated with robot-assisted or open partial nephrectomy [1]. Their study retrospectively compared transperitoneal robot-assisted partial nephrectomy (RAPN) and retroperitoneal open partial nephrectomy (OPN) in a series of 714 patients (545 RAPN and 169 OPN) with cT1a parenchymal tumours of the kidney. Although the RAPN group had a higher mean RENAL nephrometry score, the authors observed a significantly higher overall complication rate in patients in the OPN group (30.3 vs 18.2%; P=0.038). On multivariable analysis, the open approach was an independent predictor of overall complications (odds ratio 1.52; CI 1.03–2.43, P=0.035) besides race, body mass index (BMI) and Charlson comorbidity index. Notably, when complications were stratified by grade, the worse outcome for OPN compared with RAPN was related to minor complications (i.e. Clavien–Dindo 1 and 2) only, with the most relevant difference represented by wound problems. No statistically significant difference between the two approaches was observed with regard to estimated blood loss (EBL) or genitourinary complications. Surprisingly, the RAPN group also had a shorter median warm ischaemia time (WIT; median 22.1 vs 28.6 min).

The authors should be commended for this very interesting comparative study; however, some criticisms should be considered.

First, the authors claim that all procedures were performed by surgeons beyond their learning curve over a period of >4.5 years. Considering the OPN group, the number of procedures/year is <40. If the series was multi-surgeon (the authors do not specify this), then yearly caseload does not meet the standards for defining ‘high’ surgical volume, especially when compared with the RAPN cases (>100/year).

Second, the main complication in the OPN group was wound problems. One has to consider that patients included in this study were mostly overweight to obese, as reflected in the BMI values (median 29.6 kg/m2). This characteristic could have played an important role in the OPN group and may represent a bias.

Third, it seems curious that the same group of authors recently published another comparative study of RAPN vs OPN for ‘completely endophytic tumours’ [2], where the only statistically significant difference between the two approaches was lower EBL and shorter length of stay, in favour of RAPN. Interestingly, no statistically significant difference was reported between two groups with regard to either postoperative complications or WIT.

In 2014, Ficarra et al. [3] compared RAPN and OPN in a multicentre series of 400 cases (200 RAPN and 200 OPN) using a matched-pair analysis [3]. The robot-assisted approach resulted in a lower rate of minor postoperative complications and a lower intra-operative EBL. Notably, in that analysis, the open approach resulted in a shorter WIT despite the fact that 14.5% and 13% of RAPN and OPN patients, respectively, were complex cases (i.e. had cT1b tumours). As pointed out above, in the present study, Ramirez et al. [1] reported a median (interquartile range [IQR]) WIT of 22.1 (17–26) min for the RAPN group and 28.6 (22–35) min for the OPN group [1].

Robot-assisted surgery confers an evident advantage to the surgeon, especially during the renorrhaphy phase as a result of the freedom of movement of the robotic needle driver compared with conventional laparoscopic instruments. It has been shown that the learning curve for RAPN is relatively short, allowing WIT of <20 min to be achieved [4]. In our opinion, the real competitor with regard to RAPN for WIT is OPN. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis based on 16 series showed, in fact, longer WIT for RAPN compared with OPN [5].

Taken together, all these results suggest that OPN maintains its role in the robotic era, especially when complex cases require treatment. Although RAPN is now widespread and has expanded its indications, it is still able to provide excellent performance in terms of postoperative complications at least equal to OPN in tertiary referral centres where a high volume of robotic renal surgery is performed, as indicated by Ramirez et al. [1]; however, several aspects of RAPN still await evaluation. The learning curve for RAPN, in terms of operating time and WIT, has been previously evaluated [4, 6], and the advantages of robotic surgery have been convincingly demonstrated when compared with pure laparoscopy [7]. Despite this, all the studies that have evaluated the learning curve for RAPN involved a tumour size <3 cm. The learning curve for OPN, especially in complex cases, should also be considered. Despite its impressive dissemination, RAPN is still in evolution, and OPN remains alive.

Alessandro Crestani, Marta Rossanese and Gianluca Giannarini
Academic Medical Centre Hos ital San ta Maria della Misericordia, Urology Unit, Udine, Italy

 

References

 

 

Article of the Week: NSS Across a Nation

Every Week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video from Archie Fernando and Tim O’Brien, discussing their paper.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

Nephron-sparing surgery across a nation – outcomes from the British Association of Urological Surgeons 2012 national partial nephrectomy audit

Archie Fernando*, Sarah Fowler* and Tim OBrien*, on behalf of the British
Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) 

 

*BAUS, The Royal College of Surgeons of England, and The Urology Centre, Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

 

BAUS-2012-national-partial-nephrectomy-audit-infographic-clipped

 

Click on image for full size infographic

 

Objective

To determine the scope and outcomes of nephron-sparing surgery (NSS), i.e. partial nephrectomy, across the UK and in so doing set a realistic benchmark and identify fresh contemporary challenges in NSS.

Patients and Methods

In 2012 reporting of outcomes of all types of nephrectomy became mandatory in the UK. In all, 148 surgeons in 86 centres prospectively entered data on 6 042 nephrectomies undertaken in 2012. This study is a retrospective analysis of the NSS procedures in the dataset.

Results

A total of 1 044 NSS procedures were recorded and the median (range) surgical volume was 4 (1–39) per consultant and 8 (1–59) per centre. In all, 36 surgeons and 10 centres reported on only one NSS. The indications for NSS were: elective with a tumour of ≤4.5 cm in 59%, elective with a tumour of >4.5 cm in 10%, relative in 7%, imperative in 12%, Von Hippel–Lindau in 1%, and unknown in 11%. The median (range) tumour size was 3.4 (0.8–30) cm. The technique used was minimally invasive surgery in 42%, open in 58%, with conversions in 4%. The histology results were: malignant in 80%, benign in 18%, and unknown in 2%. In patients aged <40 years 36% (36/101) had benign histology vs 17% (151/874) of those aged ≥40 years (P < 0.01). In patients with tumours of <2.5 cm 29% (69/238) had benign histology vs 14% (57/410) with tumours of 2.5–4 cm vs 8% (16/194) with tumours of ≥4 cm (P = 0.02). In patients aged <40 years with of tumours of <2.5 cm 44% (15/34) were benign. The 30-day mortality was 0.1% (1/1 044). There were major complications (Clavien–Dindo grade of ≥IIIa) in 5% (53/1 044). There was an increased risk of complications after extended elective NSS of 19% (19/101) vs elective at 12% (76/621) (relative risk [RR] 1.54; P < 0.01). Margins were recorded in 68% (709/1 044) of the patients, with positive margins identified in 7% (51/709). Positive surgical margins after NSS for pathological T3 (pT3) tumours were found in 47.8% (11/23) vs 6.1% (32/523) for pT1a, tumours (RR 5.61; P < 0.01). In all, 14% (894/6 042) of the patients underwent surgery for T1a tumours: 55% (488/894) by NSS, 42% (377/894) by radical nephrectomy (RN), and in 3% (29/894) the procedure used was unknown. Major complications after occurred in 4.9% (24/488) of NSS vs 1.3% (5/377) of RN (P < 0.01). Limitations included poor reporting of renal function data and no data on tumour complexity.

Conclusions

In its first year, mandatory national reporting has provided several challenging contemporary insights into NSS.

Editorial: SRMs – Where is the Wisdom We Have Lost in Knowledge?

The perceived wisdom that a small enhancing mass in the kidney represents a surgical lesion that automatically requires excision without the need for a preoperative biopsy has been challenged by Fernando et al. [1] in this issue of BJUI.

The authors are to be congratulated in bringing these data to publication to provoke debate on the treatment paradigm for small renal masses (SRMs) by reviewing nationally collected data on the main therapeutic surgical option: nephron-sparing surgery. As anyone who has attended a renal multidisciplinary meeting can testify, the predominant presentation of renal cancer is the incidentally detected SRM, often in elderly patients with significant comorbidity.

As the authors emphasize, these data are unique in representing a national picture encompassing both high- and low-volume centres, as opposed to the majority of the studies in the literature, which report data from high-volume tertiary referral centres.

Drawing conclusions from data requires a clear understanding of the source and quality. Most importantly, as these data only refer to patients undergoing nephron-sparing surgery, we need to be cautious about extrapolating to infer information on the management of SRMs in general.

For instance, a striking finding of the present study is the high incidence of benign lesions in the younger age groups. We have no knowledge of the numbers of patients with SRMs within the study period who had biopsy-proven benign disease and thus avoided surgery. It is probable that the true incidence of benign disease would be even higher if these cases had been recorded and included in the analysis.

An inherent difficulty with self-reported data is the issue of compliance, and this is clearly evident in the present study, with, for example, almost a third of cases missing data on surgical margin results. It would perhaps be helpful for future audits if the BAUS dataset had a clear definition of positive surgical margin in recognition of the surgical drift to enucleation rather than excision with a margin of renal parenchyma.

The variation in caseload between reporting centres raises important questions, as does the finding that two fifths of patients with T1a tumours underwent radical nephrectomies. As the authors concede, with the numbers involved and the absence of any measure of tumour complexity, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions; however, the study does highlight the need to examine this issue in future analyses and to consider including some form of renal scoring system in future audits.

Where do we go from here and what can we do with this information? First, we need to rethink our discussion with patients with SRMs. Can we justify performing major surgery with a one in 20 chance of a significant complication for a possible benign lesion without at least a pragmatic discussion of the role of renal biopsy with the patient? Indeed, one may argue, could it really be an ‘informed’ decision without it?

Second, we need to improve the quality of the data by encouraging robust data reporting, increasing the completion rate and considering adding data fields which will allow us to draw clearer conclusions on surgical margin and surgical outcome and volume relationships.

Third, we need to recognize that nephron-sparing surgery is only one component of the management of SRMs, which represents a major contemporary challenge in terms of health resources and, most importantly, in deciding the best treatment paradigm for our patients. If BAUS can carry out this audit, could we not extend this to all patients with SRMs, whether they have surgery, ablation or surveillance, and establish greater clarity on these treatment methods?

Michael Aitchison, Consultant Urological Surgeon and Maxine Tran, Senior Lecturer in Renal Cancer Surgery and Honorary Consultant Urological Surgeon

 

Renal Cancer Service, Royal Free NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

 

Reference

 

Video: Nephron-Sparing Surgery Across the UK

Nephron-sparing surgery across a nation – outcomes from the British Association of Urological Surgeons 2012 national partial nephrectomy audit

Archie Fernando*, Sarah Fowler* and Tim OBrien*, on behalf of the British
Association of Urological Surgeons (BAUS) 

 

*BAUS, The Royal College of Surgeons of England, and The Urology Centre, Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK

 

Objective

To determine the scope and outcomes of nephron-sparing surgery (NSS), i.e. partial nephrectomy, across the UK and in so doing set a realistic benchmark and identify fresh contemporary challenges in NSS.

Patients and Methods

In 2012 reporting of outcomes of all types of nephrectomy became mandatory in the UK. In all, 148 surgeons in 86 centres prospectively entered data on 6 042 nephrectomies undertaken in 2012. This study is a retrospective analysis of the NSS procedures in the dataset.

Jun AOTW Results Image 4

Results

A total of 1 044 NSS procedures were recorded and the median (range) surgical volume was 4 (1–39) per consultant and 8 (1–59) per centre. In all, 36 surgeons and 10 centres reported on only one NSS. The indications for NSS were: elective with a tumour of ≤4.5 cm in 59%, elective with a tumour of >4.5 cm in 10%, relative in 7%, imperative in 12%, Von Hippel–Lindau in 1%, and unknown in 11%. The median (range) tumour size was 3.4 (0.8–30) cm. The technique used was minimally invasive surgery in 42%, open in 58%, with conversions in 4%. The histology results were: malignant in 80%, benign in 18%, and unknown in 2%. In patients aged <40 years 36% (36/101) had benign histology vs 17% (151/874) of those aged ≥40 years (P < 0.01). In patients with tumours of <2.5 cm 29% (69/238) had benign histology vs 14% (57/410) with tumours of 2.5–4 cm vs 8% (16/194) with tumours of ≥4 cm (P = 0.02). In patients aged <40 years with of tumours of <2.5 cm 44% (15/34) were benign. The 30-day mortality was 0.1% (1/1 044). There were major complications (Clavien–Dindo grade of ≥IIIa) in 5% (53/1 044). There was an increased risk of complications after extended elective NSS of 19% (19/101) vs elective at 12% (76/621) (relative risk [RR] 1.54; P < 0.01). Margins were recorded in 68% (709/1 044) of the patients, with positive margins identified in 7% (51/709). Positive surgical margins after NSS for pathological T3 (pT3) tumours were found in 47.8% (11/23) vs 6.1% (32/523) for pT1a, tumours (RR 5.61; P < 0.01). In all, 14% (894/6 042) of the patients underwent surgery for T1a tumours: 55% (488/894) by NSS, 42% (377/894) by radical nephrectomy (RN), and in 3% (29/894) the procedure used was unknown. Major complications after occurred in 4.9% (24/488) of NSS vs 1.3% (5/377) of RN (P < 0.01). Limitations included poor reporting of renal function data and no data on tumour complexity.

Conclusions

In its first year, mandatory national reporting has provided several challenging contemporary insights into NSS.

Step-By-Step: RAPN with intracorporeal renal hypothermia using ice slush

Robot-assisted partial nephrectomy with intracorporeal renal hypothermia using ice slush: step-by-step technique and matched comparison with warm ischaemia

 

Daniel Ramirez, Peter A. Caputo, Jayram Krishnan, Homayoun Zargar* and Jihad H. Kaouk
Glickman Urological and Kidney Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA, and *Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Vic, Australia

 

Objectives

To outline our step-by-step technique for intracorporeal renal cooling during robot-assisted partial nephrectomy (RAPN).

Patients and Methods

Patient selection was performed during a preoperative clinic visit. Cases where we estimated during preoperative assessment that warm ischaemia time would be >30 min, as determined by whether the patient had a complex renal mass, were selected. The special equipment required for this procedure includes an Ecolab Hush Slush machine (Microtek Medical Inc., Columbus, MS, USA) a Mon-a-therm needle thermocouple device (Covidien, Mansfield, MA, USA) and six modified 20-mL syringes. Patients are arranged in a 60° modified flank position with the operating table flexed slightly at the level of the anterior superior iliac spine. For the introduction of a temperature probe and ice slush, an additional 12-mm trocar is placed along the mid-axillary line beneath the costal margin. Modified 10/20 mL syringes are prefilled with ice slush for instillation via an accessory trocar. Peri-operative and 6-month functional outcomes in the cold ischaemia group were compared with those of a cohort of patients who underwent RAPN with warm ischaemia in a 2:1 matched fashion. Matching was performed based on preoperative estimated glomerular filtration rate (GFR), ischaemia time and RENAL nephrometry score.

Results

Strategies for successful intracorporeal renal cooling include: (i) placement of accessory port directly over the kidney; (ii) uniform ice consistency and modified syringes; (iii) sequential clamping of renal artery and vein; (iv) protection of the neighbouring intestine with a laparoscopic sponge; and (v) complete mobilization of the kidney. Kidney temperature is monitored via a needle thermocoupler device, while core body temperature is concurrently monitored via an oesophageal probe in real time. Renal function was assessed by serum creatinine level, estimated GFR (eGFR) and mercaptoacetyltriglycine (MAG-3) renal scan, peri-operatively and at 6-month follow-up. In the separate matched analysis, cold ischaemia during RAPN was found to be associated with a 12.9% improvement in preservation of postoperative eGFR. No difference was seen in either group at 6-month follow-up.

Conclusions

We conclude that RAPN with intracorporeal renal hypothermia using ice slush is technically feasible and may improve postoperative renal function in the short term. Our technique for intracorporeal hypotheramia is cost-effective, simple and highly reproducible.

 

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