A new study suggested that tumor histology may be an important predictor of radio frequency ablation (RFA) success, and stratification of outcomes based on tumor histology may help improve post-treatment prognostication.

In addition, the researchers report that future RFA studies should consider reporting outcomes based on tumor cell types.1

“RFA is gaining acceptance as an alternative, minimally invasive treatment for small renal masses. It is important to identify patient and tumor characteristics that will help clinicians select the best candidates for this type of treatment,” said study author Aaron Lay, MD, who is an assistant instructor in the Department of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX.

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Dr. Lay and his colleagues found that papillary renal neoplasms may have lower recurrence rates following RFA and parallel renal cell carcinoma subtype specific outcomes after surgical treatments.

They report that this may be partly explained through differences in tumor vascularity and natural history. Dr. Lay said papillary neoplasms may be more amenable to RFA because they are less vascular than clear cell carcinoma and that may limit heat energy loss.

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The researchers reviewed the records of 229 patients who were treated with RFA for small renal masses (cT1a). The review analyzed outcomes following treatment of 181 clear cell tumors and 48 papillary tumors.

The median follow-up was just under 3 years (33.2 months) and the researchers found that the 5-year disease-free survival rate was 89.7% for clear cell tumors compared to 100% for papillary tumors.