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Managing a Tumor Thrombus in Kidney Cancer

Managing Kidney Cancer

“Some patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC) display a unique pattern of local invasion known as tumor thrombus: the cancer invades the major vein that drains the kidneys and can potentially climb up to the heart,” says urologic oncologist Nirmish Singla.

“Little is known about whether our approach to managing patients with tumor thrombus should differ based on the underlying histology,” or how the cells look under the microscope. “While most RCCs are of a ‘clear cell’ histology, some cancers contain uncommon cell types, categorized as ‘non-clear cell.’”

To address this, in a recent study, Singla and colleagues including Matthew Rabinowitz, B.S., a Johns Hopkins medical student, analyzed a group of 103 kidney cancer patients with tumor thrombi, 21 of whom had non-clear cell histology.

“Regardless of the cell type, our work shows that patients who had surgery to remove the tumor exhibited similar outcomes and long-term survival,” says Rabinowitz, the study’s first author. “Our findings reassure us that selected patients with tumor thrombus should receive the same, rigorous surgical treatment irrespective of their tumor’s histology.” 

The study was published in European Urology Open Science.

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