Transplanting kidneys from donors with small renal masses — a strategy to expand the donor pool
Introduction: Renal transplantation is the optimal treatment for end-stage renal disease, but organ demand continues to outstrip supply. The transplantation of kidneys from donors with small renal masses (SRMs) represents a potential avenue to expand the donor pool. We reviewed all published cases of transplants from donors with SRMs and we present followup data, best practices, and outline an actionable series of steps to guide the implementation of such transplants at individual centers.
Methods: A detailed literature search of the MEDLINE/PubMed and SCOPUS databases was performed. Thirty unique data sets met inclusion criteria and described the transplantation of tumorectomized kidneys; nine data sets described the transplantation of contralateral kidneys from donors with SRMs.
Results: A total of 147 tumorectomized kidneys have been transplanted. Pathology revealed 120 to be renal cell carcinomas (RCCs), of which 116 were stage T1a (0.3–4 cm). The mean followup time was 44.2 months (1‒200). A single suspected tumor recurrence occurred in one patient nine years post-transplantation and it was managed with active surveillance. Twenty-seven kidneys have been transplanted from deceased donors with contralateral renal masses. Pathology revealed 25 to be RCCs, of which 19 were confirmed to be stage T1 (<7 cm). The mean followup time was 46.7 months (0.5‒155). One recipient developed an RCC and underwent curative allograft nephrectomy.
Conclusions: Careful use of kidneys from donors with SRMs is feasible and safe, with an overall recurrence rate of less than 1.5%. The use of such kidneys could help alleviate the organ shortage crisis.
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