Bosniak Classification for Complex Renal Cysts Reevaluated: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Purpose:

We systematically evaluated the Bosniak classification system with malignancy rates of each Bosniak category, and assessed the effectiveness related to surgical treatment and oncologic outcome based on recurrence and/or metastasis.

Materials and Methods:

In a systematic review according to PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) statement and the QUADAS-2 (Quality Assessment of Diagnostic Accuracy Studies) criteria, we selected 39 publications for inclusion in this analysis and categorized them into 1) surgical cohorts—all cysts treated surgically and 2) radiological cohorts—cysts with surgical treatment or radiological followup.

Results:

A total of 3,036 complex renal cysts were categorized into Bosniak II, IIF, III and IV. In surgical and radiological cohorts pooled estimates showed a malignancy prevalence of 0.51 (0.44, 0.58) in Bosniak III and 0.89 (0.83, 0.92) in Bosniak IV cysts, respectively. Stable Bosniak IIF cysts showed a malignancy rate of less than 1% during radiological followup (surveillance). Bosniak IIF cysts, which showed reclassification to the Bosniak III/IV category during radiological followup (12%), showed malignancy in 85%, comparable to Bosniak IV cysts. The estimated surgical number needed to treat to avoid metastatic disease of Bosniak III and IV cysts was 140 and 40, respectively.

Conclusions:

The effectiveness of the Bosniak classification system for complex renal cysts was high in categories II, IIF and IV, but low in category III, and 49% of Bosniak III cysts was overtreated because of a benign outcome. This surgical overtreatment combined with the excellent outcome for Bosniak III cysts may suggest that surveillance is a rational alternative to surgery. This will require further study to assess whether surveillance of Bosniak III cysts will prove safe.

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