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Hum Pathol. 2008 Jan;39(1):96-101. Epub 2007 Oct 18.

Papillary renal cell carcinoma with oncocytic cells and nonoverlapping low grade nuclei: expanding the morphologic spectrum with emphasis on clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical and molecular features.

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Department of Pathology, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Papillary renal cell carcinoma (PRCC), a morphologically and genetically distinct subtype of RCC, is morphologically separated into 2 subtypes, type 1 and 2, for prognostic purposes. Type 1 PRCC (single layer of small cells, scant pale cytoplasm) is more common and has a favorable prognosis compared with type 2 (pseudostratified high-grade nuclei, abundant eosinophilic/oncocytic cytoplasm). We report the clinicopathologic, immunohistochemical, and molecular data of 7 adult papillary tumors with morphological features distinct from type 1 or 2 PRCC. All tumors demonstrated predominant papillary architecture, lined by cells with oncocytic cytoplasm, and nonoverlapping low Fuhrman grade nuclei (1 or 2). Foamy macrophages were noted in 2 of 7 tumors. No case demonstrated necrosis or psammoma bodies. Most tumors (6/7) were small (mean size, 2.0 cm; range, 0.8-5.7 cm) and limited to the kidney. No tumor recurrence or metastasis was identified (median follow-up, 22 months). All tumors demonstrated trisomy for 7 and 17 by fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis and uniform CK 7, CD10, and alpha-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase expression, characteristic of PRCC. These results suggest that these tumors are distinct from type 1 (owing to oncocytic cells) and type 2 (owing to low-grade nonstratified nuclei, low stage, and good outcome). Awareness of this favorable spectrum of PRCC is important to avoid its potential misinterpretation as an aggressive type 2 PRCC (owing to oncocytic cells) or rarely as an oncocytoma (owing to oncocytic cells and low-grade nuclei). Morphologic spectrum of these PRCCs emphasizes that the future prognostic model of PRCC may need to be based primarily on the nuclear characteristics, irrespective of the cytoplasmic features.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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