Doctors remove 5 tumors from patient's kidney

Cai Wenjun
Man with rare genetic disorder causing multiple tumors treated at city's Renji Hospital by doctors who managed to save his right kidney during a 3-hour operation. 
Cai Wenjun

A 33-year-old man with cancerous tumors on his right kidney due to a hereditary condition has had them removed and his kidney saved, Renji Hospital officials announced on Tuesday.

Multiple tumors were found on both his kidneys during a checkup in 2013 and he was confirmed with Von Hippel-Lindau disease, a hereditary disease associated with tumors in multiple organs.

The patient had surgery in 2016 to remove part of his left kidney. However, the five tumors on the right kidney had grown bigger by this year and all the hospitals he visited suggested complete removal of the right kidney.

When he saw Dr Zhang Jin at Renji Hospital early this month it was determined that five tumors on his right kidney must be removed, while there was a cancerous relapse on his left kidney.

“So cutting the tumors while keeping the right kidney for the patient is extremely important for his future life quality,” said Zhang, who designed a plan combining removing part of the kidney and radiofrequency ablation to keep as much of its function as possible. 

The surgery on December 4 was a success with all five tumors removed and the right kidney kept through the 3-hour procedure.

Dr Xue Wei, director of Renji’s urology department said VHL disease is a genetic disorder which can cause several family members to develop the disease. The incidence is 2.78 in every 100,000. The incidence of kidney cancer is 24 to 45 percent. Such cancer hits patients earlier and can affect both kidneys. Relapses are very likely to happen and it is challenging to treat.

Renji Hospital has the largest database on the disease and has set up a multidisciplinary diagnosis and treatment center with an over 80 percent rate of keeping patients’ kidneys, doctors said.

Genetic screening and regular checkups are important for early intervention and treatment. Doctors said that anyone with a family history of VHL-gene carriers should receive reproductive consultation to prevent spreading the disease to their children.

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