Outlining the limits of partial nephrectomy
Amongst nephron-sparing modalities, partial nephrectomy (PN) is the standard of care in the treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Despite the increasing utilization of PN, particularly propagated by robot-assisted, minimally invasive approaches for small renal masses (SRMs), the limits of PN appear to be also evolving. In this review, we sought to address the tumour stage beyond which PN may be oncologically perilous. While the evidence supports PN in the treatment of tumours < pT2a, PN may have a role in advanced or metastatic RCC. Other scenarios wherein PN has limited utility are also explored, including anatomical or surgical factors that dictate the difficulty of the case, such as prior renal surgery. Lastly, we discuss the emerging role of molecular biomarkers, specifically epigenetics, to aid in the risk stratification of SRMs and to select tumours optimally suited for PN.