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  • Publication # 13-RA004

The March 2014 issue of Research Activities was the last issue of the monthly newsletter. AHRQ is transitioning to a new quarterly thematic publication that will provide longer, more in-depth analyses of individual topics related to AHRQ’s four priority areas. This new publication will be available online  in the Fall.

Research Activities readers will still be able to access published studies by AHRQ and AHRQ-supported researchers on the AHRQ Research Studies Web page, which will be online later this Spring. Studies can be accessed by first author, publication date, and key word.

Thanks to all our readers over the years who have told us how much they have enjoyed the newsletter. We hope our new quarterly publication will be equally useful in learning more about AHRQ and the field of health services research!

For questions, please contact Research Activities managing editor, Gail Makulowich, at or at 301-427-1711.

Partial kidney removal offers survival advantage for elderly patients with small tumors

Elderly Health/Long-Term Care

The number of patients diagnosed with small kidney tumors has increased considerably over the last 2 decades. As a result, partial removal of the affected kidney has replaced complete removal as the standard treatment in order to preserve kidney function. A new study shows that patients treated with partial rather than total removal of the kidney had a significantly lower risk of dying of kidney cancer.

The researchers retrospectively studied the outcomes of 7,138 Medicare patients with early-stage kidney cancer. Thirty-seven (1.9 percent) patients who underwent partial kidney removal died compared to 222 (4.3 percent) of those whose complete kidney was removed. Based on a predicted survival difference of 15.5 percentage points at 8-year follow-up, the researchers estimated that one life would be saved for every seven patients treated with partial rather than total kidney removal.

Although these findings contradict the results of an earlier clinical trial that found a survival benefit for those treated with total kidney removal, the researchers believe that this is because partial kidney removal was much less widely used in the period covered by the clinical trial. At that time, physicians were much less skilled in its intricacies, and the patient population it was applied to differed considerably from those receiving partial kidney removal in the period covered by the newer study. This study was supported in part by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (HS18346).

See "Long-term survival following partial vs. radical nephrectomy among older patients with early-stage kidney cancer" by Hung-Jui Tan, MD, Edward C. Norton, PhD, Zaojun Ye, MS, and others in the April 18, 2012, Journal of the American Medical Association 307(15), pp. 1629-1635.


Page last reviewed January 2013
Internet Citation: Partial kidney removal offers survival advantage for elderly patients with small tumors: Elderly Health/Long-Term Care. January 2013. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.


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