Understanding the role of salvage lymphadenectomy in node only recurrences after nephrectomy for renal cell carcinoma

Marcelo P. Barboza, Ryan W. Speir, Ronald S. Boris, Adam C. Calaway, Clint Cary, Richard S. Foster, Timothy A. Masterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: To investigate oncological outcomes and relapse patterns in retroperitoneal lymph node (LN)-only recurrences with salvage retroperitoneal lymph node dissection (S-RPLND). Materials and Methods: We reviewed records of 19 patients undergoing RPLND for RCC recurrences between 2011 and 2018. All patients initially had primary non-metastatic RCC, with subsequent recurrence restricted to the retroperitoneal lymph nodes (LN). LN recurrence sites after nephrectomy and relapses after S-RPLND were assessed. The primary outcomes were post-RPLND Relapse-Free Survival (RFS), and Cancer-Specific Survival (CSS). Results: The median age of our cohort was 60 years at RPLND. Right and left nephrectomies were performed in 14 (73.7%) and 5 (26.3%), respectively. Clear cell carcinoma was found in 10 (52.6%) patients, followed by papillary in 4(21.1%), chromophobe in 2(10.5%), and ‘other’ in 3 (15.8%). The extent of lymphadenectomy during nephrectomy and S-RPLND varied based on surgical approach. The median follow-up time after S-RPLND of the entire cohort was 31.53 months, and the median RFS was 9.63 months. Overall, 4 patients died of cancer, of which 3 (75%) were N1 at time of nephrectomy. The CSS after RPLND at 3 and 5 years was 81.5% and 61.1%, respectively. The RFS after RPLND at 2 and 5 years was 44.4% and 29.6%, respectively. Conclusions: Our results suggest that aggressive surgical management provides satisfactory CSS with acceptable complication rates. Moreover, we believe this subset of patients with node-only recurrence showed an unpredictable pattern of lymphatic spread, with predilection for regional dissemination warranting surgical resection of LN recurrences in a bilateral template fashion when feasible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Carcinoma, Renal cell
  • Kidney neoplasms
  • Lymph node excision
  • Nephrectomy
  • Recurrence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology

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