Many patients with low-risk or favourable-risk kidney cancer may have slow-growing tumours. For these people, surveillance and a delay in the start of treatment could be an option. However, it is not known whether this delay could change the outcome for these people. The aim of this study was to see if delaying the start of first-line treatment affects the survival of favourable-risk patients.

Ninety (90) patients were included in the study. Patients who had a delay in their treatment had more local treatment of metastases than those who started treatment immediately (63% versus 24%). Among patients who had a delay in treatment, 41% eventually received first-line treatment and average treatment-free survival was 39 months. Median overall survival time from when the cancer had started to spread was 55 months in the patients who received treatment immediately and 88 months in the delayed treatment group.

This study showed that selected people with favourable-risk kidney cancer may delay the start of their treatment safely. Local treatment of metastases improved survival and should be considered whenever possible. A larger trial is needed to confirm these results.

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