Management of complex renal cysts in Canada: results of a survey study Academic Article uri icon

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  • Abstract Background Bosniak III and IV cysts have a high risk of malignancy and have traditionally been managed surgically. However, growing evidence suggests that many can be managed by active surveillance. The main objective of this study was to characterize the use of surveillance in the management of complex renal cysts. Methods A web-based survey was sent to all registered, active members of the Canadian Urological Association (N = 583) in October 2018. Results The survey response rate was 24.7%. Management of Bosniak III cysts varied considerably. A large proportion of respondents (33.1%) offered active surveillance in > 50% of cases. Only 13.7% of respondents reported never or rarely (< 5% of cases) offering surveillance. In contrast, for Bosniak IV cysts, 60.1% of urologists never or rarely offered surveillance, while only 10.1% offer it in > 50% of cases. A significantly greater proportion of academic urologists, compared to non-academic urologists, viewed surveillance as a management option for patients with a Bosniak III or IV cyst. The most commonly reported barriers to a greater adoption of surveillance were concerns regarding its oncologic safety, the lack of data to support surveillance in this population, and the lack of triggers for discontinuation of active surveillance and intervention. Conclusions Despite active surveillance being included as a management option in guidelines, many Canadian urologists are reluctant to offer surveillance to patients with Bosniak III or IV cysts. Practice patterns are heterogeneous among those offering surveillance. High-quality studies are required to better define the benefits and risks of cystic renal mass surveillance.


  • Couture, Félix
  • Finelli, Antonio
  • Tétu, Amélie
  • Bhindi, Bimal
  • Breau, Rodney H
  • Kapoor, Anil
  • Kassouf, Wassim
  • Lavallée, Luke
  • Tanguay, Simon
  • Violette, Philippe D
  • Richard, Patrick O

publication date

  • December 2020