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We assessed the effect of time to recurrence on cancer-specific mortality in 331 patients who experienced recurrence after surgical intervention for renal cell carcinoma. Shorter time to disease recurrence was independently associated with higher cancer mortality and showed a steep drop in the likelihood of cancer mortality as the time to recurrence increased from 3 months to 3 years.A few studies addressed predictive factors of cancer-specific mortality (CSM) in patients with recurrent renal cell carcinoma (RCC) following surgery. Time to recurrence (TTR) is an important predictor of CSM in various types of cancers. The aim of our study was to describe the course of RCC following disease recurrence and to identify prognostic factors that influence CSM with a special focus on TTR.Retrospective analysis of 331 patients who experienced disease recurrence after radical nephrectomy (n = 307) or partial nephrectomy (n = 24) with curative intent. A Cox proportional hazards regression model addressed the association between various clinicopathologic features and CSM after disease recurrence. TTR was defined as time from surgery to occurrence of disease recurrence.Of the 331 patients, 232 (70%) were male, and 99 (30%) were female. The median age at surgery was 62 years (interquartile range, 53-69 years). Median time from nephrectomy to disease recurrence was 1.2 years (interquartile range, 0.5-3.3 years). Of the recurrences, 63 (19%) were local, and 268 (81%) were distant. Shorter time to recurrence (P = .0008), female gender (P = .035), and distant versus local recurrence location (P < .0001) were found to be independently associated with CSM following disease recurrence.In patients experiencing disease recurrence after nephrectomy for presumably localized RCC, shorter TTR, female gender, and distant recurrence were found to be associated with worse CSM. The inclusion of these factors into risk-stratification tools may help patient counseling and decision-making regarding type and regimen of salvage treatment.