CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology

, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1892–1900 | Cite as

Percutaneous Ablation Versus Nephrectomy for Small Renal Masses: Clinical Outcomes in a Single-Center Cohort

  • Pedro LourencoEmail author
  • Nicolas Bilbey
  • Bo Gong
  • Arvin Bahrabadi
  • Bradley Halkier
Clinical Investigation Non-Vascular Interventions
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Non-Vascular Interventions



To compare the outcomes of percutaneous ablation (PA) versus nephrectomy (NE) for small renal masses (SRMs) in patients with T1 renal cell carcinoma and evaluate the role of pre-procedural biopsy in the treatment of SRM.

Materials and Methods

Retrospective cohort analysis of patients subjected to PA or NE for SRM (< 5 cm) from January 2006 to August 2016. A total of 231 patients with T1 SRM were included in the main analysis. Patient demographics, tumor characteristics, biopsy and procedural details, clinical outcomes, complication rates, and changes in renal function were compared in patients with malignant SRMs. Survival rates were compared using log-rank test.


A total of 142 patients underwent PA and 89 patients underwent NE, with a respective mean follow-up period of 2.50 (SD 1.77) and 1.85 (SD 0.97) years (P = 0.029). Rate of intervention for benign tumors was similar in PA (n = 21, 15%) and NE (n = 16, 18%; P = 0.520) without routine pre-procedural biopsy. Routine pre-procedural biopsy resulted in zero benign tumors treated in the PA cohort. Tumor recurrence was similar and cumulative survival was similar in both groups (P = 0.287). Residual tumor was observed in 18 PA patients. Complication rates were lower for PA than for NE (9 vs 30%, P < 0.001). A significant reduction in eGFR was observed after NE (12.1 mL/min/1.73 m2; P = 0.009) relative to PA (5.9 mL/min/1.73 m2; P = 0.060).


PA is a safe alternative to NE in the treatment of SRM, with similar overall survival and decreased complication rates. Pre-procedural biopsy decreases the rate of intervention for benign tumors and should be routinely performed.


Renal cell carcinoma Small renal mass Percutaneous ablation Radiofrequency ablation Nephrectomy 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

This study has obtained IRB approval from the Fraser Health Research Ethics Board and the need for informed consent was waived.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature and the Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Royal Columbian HospitalNew WestminsterCanada

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