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Adv Anat Pathol. 2006 Sep;13(5):247-55.

Nephrogenic adenoma: an update on an innocuous but troublesome entity.

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Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


Nephrogenic adenoma (NA) is a rare benign lesion of the urothelial tract that is typically preceded by some form of genitourinary insult. The pathogenesis of NA is not entirely clear. Although generally presumed to be a metaplastic process of the urothelium, recent evidence suggests that NA may in fact be derived from detached renal tubular cells implanting along the urothelial tract in previously injured areas, at least in cases associated with a kidney transplant. On light microscopy, NA shows a variety of patterns, including tubulocystic, papillary, and much less frequently solid, that often coexist. Recognition of its characteristic patterns, and awareness of its unusual architectural and cytologic features, is key to making the diagnosis of NA and distinguishing this lesion from malignant neoplasms occurring at the same sites, in particular, clear cell carcinoma, nested or microcystic variants of urothelial carcinoma and prostatic adenocarcinoma. Although straightforward in most cases, the correct diagnosis may be difficult to make on limited tissue samples. A number of immunohistochemical markers have been studied in an attempt to characterize NA; however, to date there is no specific immunohistochemical profile to distinguish this lesion from its malignant mimickers, although PAX2, a new marker, may prove to be helpful in this regard. Clinicopathologic correlation with careful attention to morphology remains the pillar in establishing the correct diagnosis.

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