Computed tomography (CT) images generally provide an accurate assessment of the size of renal tumors, researchers have concluded.

In a study of 467 patients who underwent radical or partial nephrectomy for renal tumors, a team from Seoul National University in Korea led by Sung Kyu Hong, MD, analyzed the difference between tumor sizes estimated using preoperative CT images and surgical specimen measurements.

The mean tumor size was 4.56 cm based on radiographic estimates and 4.49 cm based on pathologic measurements, a nonsignificant difference, according to a report in the World Journal of Urology (published online ahead of print).

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For patients who underwent radical nephrectomy, the mean radiographic and pathologic tumor size was 6.17 and 6.20 cm, respectively, also a nonsignificant difference. Those who had a partial nephrectomy had a mean radiographic and pathologic tumor size of 2.63 and 2.47 cm. Although this difference was significant, the authors noted that the observed mean difference was only about 2 mm.

Although CT images can overestimate renal tumor size relative to the actual size as determined by measuring the surgical specimen, “the difference may be minimal and clinically insignificant in most cases,” the authors concluded.