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In this study published in Science Direct, the researchers compared kidney function and cancer outcomes in patients having percutaneous (through the skin) cryoablation or partial nephrectomy using a laparoscope for small renal tumours (stage T1). Ninety (90) patients had cryoablation and 90 had partial nephrectomy. Patients were matched for demographics, baseline renal function, and the complexity of their tumour.
There were fewer complications in the group having cryoablation and preservation of kidney function was slightly better. However, these patients had lower 5-year recurrence-free survival (90% vs 99%) and lower 5-year cancer-specific survival (95% vs 100%) than those who had partial nephrectomy.
In conclusion, this study shows modest benefits with cryoablation when it comes to kidney function benefits but potentially worse survival outcomes for patients with small T1 renal tumours. These results support the use of partial nephrectomy for the treatment of small renal tumours in patients without significant co-morbidities.