Objectives: To assess cancer-specific survival of partial nephrectomy (PN) patients with ≥ 7-cm lesions or unfavorable pathology (stage T3a or Fuhrman grades III-IV). Material and Methods: At 13 participation centers, 4072 partial or radical nephrectomies (RN) were performed for RCC between 1984 and 2001. Of all procedures, 925 (22.7%) were for tumors > 7 cm, 973 (23.9%) had Fuhrman grades III or IV, and 861 (21.1%) had stage pT3a. None had nodal or distant metastases. Matched (age, gender, tumor size, T stage, histologic subtype, and Fuhrman grade [FG]) survival analyses addressed the effect of nephrectomy type (partial vs radical) on cancer-specific mortality. Results: Partial nephrectomy for tumors > 7 cm was associated with higher mortality than RN (HR = 5.3; P = .025). No significant cancer-specific survival differences were recorded after PN for FG III-IV (HR = 0.7, P = .5) or for pT3a lesions (HR = 2.5, P = .9). Conclusions: Partial nephrectomy may undermine cancer control in patients with tumors > 7 cm. Conversely, after PN, the same cancer control rates as after RN may be expected in patients with Fuhrman grades III-IV or with pT3a histology.
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