Cachexia-like, symptoms predict a worse prognosis in localized T1 renal cell carcinoma

Hyung L. Kim, Ken Ryu Han, Amnon Zisman, Robert A. Figlin, Arie S. Belldegrun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Although cachexia is a common sequela of advanced and metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), cachexia-like symptoms may also represent a paraneoplastic finding. We assessed the prognostic significance of these symptoms in patients with stage T1 RCC. Materials and Methods: Using the kidney cancer database at our institution 250 patients were identified who underwent partial or radical nephrectomy for T1N0M0 RCC between 1989 and 2001. The prognostic significance of the symptoms present at diagnosis and findings on preoperative laboratory evaluation were examined. Results: Mean and median followup was 33 and 43 months, respectively. Malaise, weight loss, anorexia and hypoalbuminemia were cachexia related findings that were significant predictors of worse disease specific survival (DSS). DSS in patients with 1 vs greater than 1 cachexia related symptoms was not significantly different (p = 0.077). Therefore, any patient with at least 1 cachexia related finding was considered to be positive for cachexia and cachexia occurred in 37 (14.8%). Cachexia was associated with significantly worse recurrence-free survival (HR 3.03, p = 0.032) and DSS (HR 4.39, p = 0.011) even after controlling for tumor size, grade and performance status. The 5-year survival rate in patients with low grade (1 or 2) tumors with and without cachexia was 91% and 81%, respectively. The 5-year survival rate in patients with high grade (3 or 4) tumors with and without cachexia was 75% and 55%, respectively. Conclusions: Cachexia-like symptoms independently predict a worse prognosis in patients with T1 RCC. Patients with cachexia (malaise, weight loss, anorexia and hypoalbuminemia), especially when associated with high grade tumors, should be considered for clinical trials of adjuvant therapies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1810-1813
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Cachexia
  • Carcinoma, renal cell
  • Kidney
  • Prognosis


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