• Vol. 40 No. 9, 401–406
  • 15 September 2011

Renal Cell Carcinoma in Young Patients is Associated with Poorer Prognosis



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Introduction: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in young patients is uncommon but thought to represent a distinctive clinical entity from older patients with different clinico-pathologic features and outcomes. We evaluated the association of age at the time of diagnosis with pathological staging, histological parameters, disease recurrence and overall survival (OS) following radical or partial nephrectomy for non-metastatic RCC in native kidneys.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective review of 316 patients with RCC after nephrectomy at a single institution between January 2001 and June 2008 was performed. Eligible patients included all histologically proven primary non-metastatic RCC treated by radical or partial nephrectomy. They were categorised into group A (≤40 years at diagnosis) and B (>40 years). Differences in clinical parameters were analysed using the Mann Whitney U test. The prognostic potential of age at diagnosis was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards regression. Survival was estimated using the Kaplan Meier method.

Results: There were 33 patients in group A and 283 patients in group B. There were more non-clear cell tumours in the younger group (30% vs 14%, P <0.05). No statistical differences were found in the stage and grade of both groups. At a median follow-up time of 41 months, the younger group had a higher metastatic rate (18% vs 10.5%, P <0.05), lower 5-year cancer-specific survival (82% vs 98%, P <0.05) and lower 5-year OS (82 % vs 95%, P <0.05). \

Conclusion: Younger patients were more likely to have non-clear cell RCC with higher disease recurrence and lower OS. They should not be assumed to have similar features and outcomes as screen-detected early RCC in older patients.

Recent studies show a steady rise in the incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The increase had been attributed to screen-detected renal tumours in asymptomatic patients, leading to a corresponding stage migration to smaller localised renal tumours and better disease specific survival. Interestingly, the incidence of malignant renal neoplasms in young individuals remains uncommon. The existing literature suggests that these tumours behave in a distinct clinical behaviour, instead of representing a stage migration with earlier diagnosis. However, some of these studies are not comparative, or include only patients in restricted age groups, or have short follow-up periods. Therefore, the role of patient age at the time of diagnosis as a prognostic factor for RCC is not clear.

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