The formation of a cancerous blood clot, or thrombus, in one of the main veins that transport blood from the body to the heart, the inferior vena cava, can be a complication in patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), occurring in 5-15% of cases. A recent study investigated the surgical treatment of kidney cancer patients with a tumour thrombus in the inferior vena cava.
Thirty-two (32) patients with kidney cancer and a tumour thrombus in the inferior vena cava had surgery to remove the kidney and the cancer thrombus. For the patients in the study the two-year survival was 75%.
The formation of a tumour thrombus in the inferior vena cava is associated with a high risk of spread of the tumour thrombus to the lungs, leading the the formation of metastases and spread of the cancer. Patient comfort is improved considerably after nephrectomy of the affected kidney and removal of the tumour thrombus, and when combined with systemic treatment, the survival rate is increased significantly.