How We Do It: Managing the Indeterminate Renal Mass with the MRI Clear Cell Likelihood Score

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27 Scopus citations


The widespread use of cross-sectional imaging has led to a continuous increase in the number of incidentally detected indeterminate renal masses. Frequently, these clinical scenarios involve an older patient with comorbidities and a small renal mass (≤4 cm). Despite aggressive treatment in early stages of the disease, a clear positive effect in reducing kidney cancer-specific mortality is lacking, indicating that many renal cancers exhibit an indolent oncologic behavior. Furthermore, in general, one in five small renal masses is histologically benign and may not benefit from aggressive treatment. Although active surveillance is increasingly recognized as a management option for some patients, the absence of reliable clinical and imaging predictive biologic markers of aggressiveness can contribute to patient anxiety and limit its use in clinical practice. A standardized approach to the image interpretation of solid renal masses has not been broadly implemented. The clear cell likelihood score (ccLS) derived from multiparametric MRI is useful in noninvasively identifying the clear cell subtype, the most common and aggressive form of kidney cancer. Herein, a review of the ccLS is presented, including a step-by-step guide for image interpretation and additional guidance for its implementation in clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)256-269
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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