Clinical Edge

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Cochrane Evaluates Partial vs Radical Nephrectomy

Cochrane; 2017 May 9; Kunath, Schmidt, et al

Partial nephrectomy may be linked with a decreased time-to-death of any cause, according to a recent Cochrane review of a randomized trial involving 541 individuals. It appears to result in little to no difference in surgery-related mortality, cancer-specific survival, and time-to-recurrence.

The study randomly assigned participants with localized kidney tumors that were thought to be cancerous to either partial or radical nephrectomy. Investigators followed them for an average of just over 9 years. Among the results:

  • Patients who had only the tumor taken were more likely to die from any cause than those who had the tumor and whole kidney removed.
  • There was little to no difference in the time until the tumor came back or in the risk of serious complications resulting in death.
  • There was no evidence between the 2 groups regarding the need for hemodialysis.
  • Quality of life was also similar in the 2 contingents.


Kunath F, Schmidt S, Krabbe L, et al. Partial nephrectomy versus radical nephrectomy for clinical localised renal masses. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2017, Issue 5. Art. No.: CD012045. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012045.pub2.