Objectives: Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is increasingly finding a place in the treatment of small renal masses (SRM). RFA may be able to provide better renal preservation, while achieving appropriate cancer control. This investigation takes a critical look at pertinent aspects of RFA principles and reviews oncological and renal function outcomes. Methods: A review of the most current English literature using a PubMed search was done. Oncological and renal function outcomes were reviewed from selected articles published between 2003 and 2009. Oncological outcome was determined by "single treatment" success rate at first follow-up and "After single treatment" success rate after first follow-up. Renal function outcome was determined by either change in creatinine, creatinine clearance, or GFR after RFA. Results: The mean tumor size was 2.5 cm for 16/17 studies. Average mean and median follow-up was 23.3 months in 13/17 studies and 19.8 months for 4/17 studies. "Single Treatment" success rates of 90-100% (average = 97.2%) were noted in 13 studies. Average increase in serum creatinine was +0.14 mg/dL in four studies. Serum creatinine and creatinine clearance change in one solitary kidney study was +11 mmol/L and -8 mL/min., respectively. Conclusions: RFA is fast emerging as a safe and efficacious treatment for small renal masses. Compared to extirpative treatment options, RFA seems to provide the lowest rate of renal impairment, while providing acceptable rates of tumor ablation. As long-term results emerge, this may become one of the treatment modalities for renal tumors in patients with solitary kidneys and renal impairment.
- Kidney cancer
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