OBJECTIVE: To assess national trends in the usage of local ablative therapy for small renal masses (SRMs) in a cohort of young patients. Ablation of SRMs has been shown to offer cancer control with limited follow-up. Although ablation is considered effective for patients with limited life expectancy, its use among younger patients may be considered controversial.
METHODS: We used the National Cancer Data Base to identify patients between the ages of 40 and 65 years who were diagnosed with SRMs from 2004 to 2011. The primary outcome was the use of local ablative therapy. Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to identify patient and hospital factors associated with ablation therapies in this cohort.
RESULTS: During the study period, we identified 49,441 patients with SRMs, of which 2789 (5.6%) were treated with ablative therapies. The proportion of patients undergoing ablation gradually rose from 2.2% in 2004 to 6.2% in 2011 (P < .001). On multivariable analysis, patients were more likely to receive local ablation at academic hospitals (odds ratio [OR]: 1.5; P < .001) compared with community hospitals, or primarily insured by Medicaid (OR: 1.4; P < .001) or Medicare (OR: 1.3; P < .001) compared with private insurance.
CONCLUSION: The use of local ablative therapies is gradually rising but has so far been limited to a small fraction of young patients with SRMs. Patients treated at high-volume, academic hospitals or insured with Medicaid or Medicare were treated to a greater degree with ablation. These results have important implications for the adoption of ablation and the need for long-term surveillance.
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