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A recent study published in the Journal of Urology evaluated the outcomes of 103 patients with small renal masses (<6 cm) who were on active surveillance. The patients were followed for a median of 55.5 months, and in that time only 1% died of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Of the 103 patients, 51.5% survived without metastatic RCC and 45.6% died of other causes. Approximately 16% ultimately received treatment for metastatic disease.
The researchers concluded that active surveillance of small renal masses is a safe option, even after 5 years of follow-up. However, the data presented in this study are limited by the lack of strict active surveillance criteria and biopsy data. The authors recommend a comparative analysis of surveillance patients versus surgical patients to confirm that surveillance is appropriate in properly selected patients.