Barriers to biopsy of small renal masses

A recent survey of Canadian Urologists assessed the use of renal tumour biopsy in the management of small renal masses and identified barriers to a more widespread use of renal tumour biopsy.

Renal tumour biopsy has been demonstrated to be a safe procedure, and without the perceived risk of spreading the cancer cells throughout the body, as was previously a concern. Up to 30% of small renal masses are benign (non-cancerous), and of those that are malignant (cancerous), many have low potential to spread.

The survey was sent to all 767 members of the Canadian Urological Association and the Quebec Urological Association; 223 (29%) urologists responded. Only a minority of responders (12%) requested renal tumour biopsy in >75% of cases, while 53% never performed or performed renal tumour biopsy in less than 25% of cases.

The greatest management-related barrier was the perception that a renal tumour biopsy wouldn’t alter the management of the patient (36%). The risk of obtaining a false-negative or a non-diagnostic biopsy was reported as the greatest pathology-related barrier to a more widespread adoption of renal tumour biopsy in the management of small renal masses.

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