Epidemiology and screening for renal cancer.

14 Jun 2018

PURPOSE: The widespread use of abdominal imaging has affected the epidemiology of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Despite this, over 25% of individuals with RCC have evidence of metastases at presentation. Screening for RCC has the potential to downstage the disease. METHODS: We performed a literature review on the epidemiology of RCC and evidence base regarding screening. Furthermore, contemporary RCC epidemiology data was obtained for the United Kingdom and trends in age-standardised rates of incidence and mortality were analysed by annual percentage change statistics and joinpoint regression. RESULTS: The incidence of RCC in the UK increased by 3.1% annually from 1993 through 2014. Urinary dipstick is an inadequate screening tool due to low sensitivity and specificity. It is unlikely that CT would be recommended for population screening due to cost, radiation dose and increased potential for other incidental findings. Screening ultrasound has a sensitivity and specificity of 82-83% and 98-99%, respectively; however, accuracy is dependent on tumour size. No clinically validated urinary nor serum biomarkers have been identified. Major barriers to population screening include the relatively low prevalence of the disease, the potential for false positives and over-diagnosis of slow-growing RCCs. Individual patient risk-stratification based on a combination of risk factors may improve screening efficiency and minimise harms by identifying a group at high risk of RCC. CONCLUSION: The incidence of RCC is increasing. The optimal screening modality and target population remain to be elucidated. An analysis of the benefits and harms of screening for patients and society is warranted.