Can multiphase CT scan distinguish between papillary renal cell carcinoma type 1 and type 2?

Ahmet Bindayi, Michelle L. McDonald, Alp T. Beksac, Gerant Rivera-Sanfeliz, Ahmed Shabaik, Fiona Hughes, Lejla Aganovic, Donna E. Hansel, Ithaar H. Derweesh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the utility of multiphase computed tomography (CT) and percutaneous renal mass biopsy (PRMB) in differentiating between papillary renal cell carcinoma (pRCC)–Type 1 and –Type 2, as emerging data have suggested differential enhancement patterns in different renal tumor histologies. Material and methods: Retrospective analysis of 51 patients (23 pRCC-Type 1/28 pRCC-Type 2) who underwent multiphase CT followed by surgery from July 2011 to April 2016 was performed. Data were analyzed between subgroups based on histology. Multiphase CT was analyzed for tumor size, and attenuation [Hounsfield Units (HU)]. Change in HU (ΔHU) was calculated between noncontrast (NC), corticome-dullary (CM), nephrographic (N), and delayed (D) phases. Subset analysis was carried out on patients who underwent PRMB prior to surgery. Results: There was no difference in median tumor size (pRCC-Type 1 2.8 vs. pRCC-Type 2 2.6 cm, p=0.832). In addition to tumor size being similar between groups, distribution of tumor stages between groups was also similar (p=0.651). Greater proportion of high-grade tumors (III/IV) was noted in pRCC-Type 2 (42.9% vs. 8.7%) (p=0.011). There was no difference in HU values for NC (p=0.961), CM (p=0.118), N (p=0.277), and D (p=0.256) phases, and in ΔHU between CM-NC (p=0.278), N-NC (p=0.316), and D-NC (p=0.103). Thirteen patients underwent percutaneous biopsy, 11 of whom had diagnostic samples. Examination of 10/11 (90.9%) samples accurately predicted correct histology, and of 6/11 (54.5%) samples correctly identified high-vs. low-grade histology. Conclusion: Our findings suggest substantial overlap of CT findings, despite pRCC-Type 2 having greater proportion of high-grade tumors. Utility of CT is limited in the differentiation between pRCC subtypes. Patients with suggested pRCC on CT imaging being considered for a non-extirpative strategy should undergo PRMB for risk stratification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)316-322
Number of pages7
JournalTurkish Journal of Urology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Computed tomography
  • Hounsfield unit
  • Nephrectomy
  • Papillary renal cell carcinoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma
  • Renal mass biopsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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