Treatment options for renal cell carcinoma in renal allografts: a case series from a single institution


  • Conflict of interest: None.

Corresponding author: Darden Swords, Department of General Surgery, Abdominal Transplant Service, Wake Forest Baptist Health, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.

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Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is more common in renal transplant and dialysis patients than the general population. However, RCC in transplanted kidneys is rare, and treatment has previously consisted of nephrectomy with a return to dialysis. There has been recent interest in nephron-sparing procedures as a treatment option for RCC in allograft kidneys in an effort to retain allograft function. Four patients with RCC in allograft kidneys were treated with nephrectomy, partial nephrectomy, or radiofrequency ablation. All of the patients are without evidence of recurrence of RCC after treatment. We found nephron-sparing procedures to be reasonable initial options in managing incidental RCCs diagnosed in functioning allografts to maintain an improved quality of life and avoid immediate dialysis compared with radical nephrectomy of a functioning allograft. However, in non-functioning renal allografts, radical nephrectomy may allow for a higher chance of cure without the loss of transplant function. Consequently, radical nephrectomy should be utilized whenever the allograft is non-functioning and the patient's surgical risk is not prohibitive.