Histologic Heterogeneity of Extirpated Renal Cell Carcinoma Specimens: Implications for Renal Mass Biopsy

Main Article Content

Lauren M. Nahouraii
Jordan L. Allen, MD
Suzanne B. Merrill, MD
Erik B. Lehman
Matthew G. Kaag
Jay D. Raman, MD, FACS

Keywords

heterogeneity, histology, renal cell carcinoma, renal mass biopsy, renal tumors

Abstract

Pathologic characteristics of extirpated renal cell carcinoma (RCC) specimens <7  cm were reviewed to get better information on technical nuances of renal mass biopsy (RMB). Specimens were stratified according to tumor stage, nuclear grade, size, histology, presence of lymphovas-cular invasion (LVI), necrosis, and sarcomatoid features. When considering pT1 (0–7 cm) tumors pT1b (4–7 cm), RCC masses were more likely to have necrosis (43% vs 16%, P < 0.001), LVI (6% vs 2%, P = 0.024), high-grade nuclear elements (29% vs 17%, P < 0.001), and sarcomatoid features (2% vs 0%, P = 0.006) compared with pT1a (0–4 cm) tumors. Additionally, pT3a tumors were more highly associated with necrosis (P = 0.005), LVI, sarcomatoid features, and high-grade disease (P for all < 0.001) when compared to pT1 masses. For masses <4 cm, pT3a cancers were more likely to demonstrate necrosis (38% vs 16%, P < 0.001), LVI (10% vs 2%, P = 0.037), high-grade nuclear elements (31% vs 17%, P = 0.05), and sarcomatoid features (3% vs 0%, P = 0.065) compared to pT1a tumors. Similarly, for masses 4–7 cm, pathologic T3a tumors were significantly more likely to have sarcomatoid features (16% vs 2%, P < 0.001) and LVI (28% vs 6%, P < 0.001) compared to pT1b tumors. In summary, pT3a tumors and those RCC masses >4 cm exhibit considerable histologic heterogeneity and may harbor elements that are not easily appreciated with limited renal sampling. Therefore, if RMB is considered for renal masses greater than 4 cm or those that abut sinus fat, a multi-quadrant biopsy approach is necessary to ensure adequate sampling and characterization of the mass.

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