The benefit of complete surgical metastasectomy for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma remains controversial due to limited outcome data. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to determine whether complete surgical metastasectomy confers a survival benefit compared to incomplete or no metastasectomy for patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma.
Materials and methods:
Ovid Embase®, MEDLINE®, Cochrane and Scopus® databases were searched for studies evaluating complete surgical metastasectomy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma through January 19, 2016. Only comparative studies reporting adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) for all cause mortality of incomplete surgical metastasectomy vs complete surgical metastasectomy were included in the analysis. Generic inverse variance with random effects models was used to determine the pooled aHR. Risk of bias was assessed with the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale.
Eight published cohort studies with a low or moderate potential for bias were included in the final analysis. The studies reported on a total of 2,267 patients (958 undergoing complete surgical metastasectomy and 1,309 incomplete surgical metastasectomy). Median overall survival ranged between 36.5 and 142 months for those undergoing complete surgical metastasectomy, compared to 8.4 to 27 months for incomplete surgical metastasectomy. Complete surgical metastasectomy was associated with a reduced risk of all cause mortality compared with incomplete surgical metastasectomy (pooled aHR 2.37, 95% CI 2.03-2.87, p <0.001), with low heterogeneity (I2 = 0%). Complete surgical metastasectomy remained independently associated with a reduction in mortality across a priori subgroup and sensitivity analyses, and regardless of whether we adjusted for performance status.
Complete surgical metastasectomy for metastatic renal cell carcinoma is associated with improved survival compared with incomplete surgical metastasectomy based on meta-analysis of observational data. Consideration should be given to performing complete surgical metastasectomy, when technically feasible, in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma who are surgical candidates.