DALLAS June 2, 2008 A UT Southwestern Medical Center physician and other researchers have developed a unique statistical model that predicts the probability of a patient being cancer free 12 years after initial surgical treatment.
The model, known as a nomogram, uses tumor and patient characteristics to maximize predictive accuracy. Scientists said that knowing the likelihood of the cancer's return can help clinicians counsel patients and to customize treatment recommendations for individual patients.
The researchers built the predictive model using data from more than 2,500 renal cancer patients in databases at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Mayo Clinic. The model is described in June's edition of the Journal of Urology.
"It is our hope that the nomogram will help physicians identify and counsel patients at high risk for cancer recurrence," said Dr. Ganesh Raj, assistant professor of urology and lead author of the published study.
"If the cancer appears only in the kidneys, it can often be treated with a partial or radical nephrectomy," he said. "This nomogram is designed for use in the initial counseling session after diagnosis and enables patients to have a clearer understanding of their cancer outcomes with surgery."
Renal cancer is the most common form of kidney cancer. A nephrectomy, or surgical removal of the kidney, is often the initial treatment. Kidney cancer is notoriously resistant to radiation therapy and chemotherapy, although some cases respond to immunotherapy. Recently developed molecular therapies have also shown great promise for treatment.
A history of smoking greatly increases the risk for developing kidney cancer. Blood in the urine, flank pain and a mass in the abdomen are classic signs of renal cancer. Unfortunately, by the time a patient displays these symptoms, the disease is often advanced beyond a curative stage.
In 2007, more than 51,000
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UT Southwestern Medical Center