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Simple lymphocyte count effectively identifies prognosis of renal cell carcinoma

March 21, 2017

Although these findings should be explored further in prospective research studies, the researchers suggest that the lymphocyte count could factor into doctors' treatment decisions. "This simple test can really help us identify patients at the outset who are at risk of very aggressive disease and who may not do well with current therapies," Saroha says. For example, if a young RCC patient has a low lymphocyte count but is otherwise healthy, a doctor may decide to pursue more aggressive therapies, such as surgery and chemotherapy.

"On the other hand, the test may also identify patients who may not need as aggressive therapies as usual," Saroha adds. For example, about half of RCC patients are over 60 years old, and if one of these patients has other health problems and a normal lymphocyte count, a doctor may decide to monitor the patient rather than perform surgery. "The test may help individualize therapies, change clinical decisions and add therapies before or after the surgery," Saroha says.

Saroha also emphasizes the need for more studies that focus on only one subtype of RCC, as in this study. Previous studies have clumped together different subtypes of RCC patients, even though there could be significant differences between them.

Source: Fox Chase Cancer Center