Clinicopathologic outcomes of cystic renal cell carcinoma

Nicholas M. Donin, Sanjay Mohan, Hai Pham, Hersh Chandarana, Ankur Doshi, Fang Ming Deng, Michael D. Stifelman, Samir S. Taneja, William C. Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background The purpose of this study was to describe the clinicopathologic characteristics and oncologic outcomes of patients who underwent nephrectomy for cystic renal masses. Patients and Methods Using an institutional review board-approved database, we retrospectively reviewed the clinical, pathologic, radiologic, and oncologic outcome data of patients who received nephrectomy for a complex cystic renal mass. Results Sixty-one patients were identified who received nephrectomy for a complex cystic lesion. Average age was 64 years. Thirty-nine (64%) patients were male. At the time of resection, 1 (1.6%), 3 (4.8%), 53 (86.8%), and 4 (6.5%) had a Bosniak category II, IIF, III, and IV cystic lesion, respectively. Nineteen (31.1%) patients were initially managed expectantly but underwent surgery because of progression of complexity on follow-up. Mean pathologic tumor size was 3.3 cm (range, 0.7-12 cm). Forty-eight (78.6%) of the lesions were found to be malignant. Thirty-seven (77.1%), 5 (10.4%), 4 (8.3%), and 2 (4.1%) were stage T1a, T1b, T2a, and T3a, respectively. Clear cell was the most common histologic subtype (44%), followed by papillary (21.3%), and unclassified RCC (4.9%). With a mean and median follow-up of 48.4 and 43.0 months, respectively, no patients developed a local or metastatic recurrence. All patients were alive at last follow-up. Conclusion In our series with moderate follow-up, cystic RCCs do not appear to recur or progress regardless of size, histologic subtype, or grade. These findings suggest the malignant potential of cRCCs is significantly less than solid RCCs. Further investigation is required to determine if cRCCs should be classified and managed independently from solid RCCs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-70
Number of pages4
JournalClinical Genitourinary Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015


  • Carcinoma
  • Cystic kidney disease
  • Neoplasm metastasis
  • Neoplasm staging
  • Nephrectomy
  • Renal cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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