Objectives. To report on the short-term morbidity of radical nephrectomy in 32 patients with poorer performance status and more advanced primary renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Nephrectomy followed by immunotherapy has been shown to improve survival in selected, good performance status patients with metastatic RCC. Methods. We report on 32 patients who underwent radical nephrectomy (20 open procedures and 12 laparoscopic) in the setting of metastatic RCC at Indiana University between 1999 and 2002. The study group included patients with advanced primary tumors (inferior vena cava involvement, large size, and involvement of adjacent structures). The patients' performance status score ranged from 0 to 2. Results. The average hospital stay was 5.1 days. No significant intraoperative complications were encountered, and postoperative complications occurred in 6 patients, including one perioperative death. At 4 weeks postoperatively, 21 (72.4%) of 29 assessable patients had a performance status equal to, or better than, their preoperative status, including 4 patients who converted from a preoperative performance status of 2 to 0 or 1 postoperatively. Eleven patients (34.4%) went on to receive postoperative immunotherapy. Conclusions. The results of our study demonstrated that radical nephrectomy in the setting of metastatic RCC has a low morbidity and acceptable recovery in these patients with advanced primary tumors and poorer performance status.
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