Renal oncocytosis: a morphologic study of fourteen cases

Am J Surg Pathol. 1999 Sep;23(9):1094-101. doi: 10.1097/00000478-199909000-00013.


Diffuse renal involvement by numerous oncocytic nodules has rarely been described. We report 14 cases (19 specimens) with innumerable oncocytic nodules in the kidney. Invariably, these kidneys showed additional associated findings. We suggest the term renal oncocytosis for this entire morphologic spectrum. Six (43%) cases had histologically or radiologically proven bilateral involvement. Each specimen had at least one dominant tumor (2.0-10.5 cm) in addition to numerous other microscopic to macroscopic oncocytic nodules. Additional features observed were: interstitial pattern, with the oncocytic tubules and acini diffusely intermingling with and infiltrating between non-neoplastic parenchyma (one case); diffuse oncocytic change in the nonneoplastic tubules, cytologically difficult to separate from the oncocytic nodules (seven cases); and benign oncocytic cortical cysts (four cases). The dominant mass in 13 specimens was a renal oncocytoma and in two, a chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. In four specimens, the largest tumor was considered a hybrid tumor because of the presence of mixed histologic features of both tumor types. Most smaller nodules had the morphologic features of renal oncocytoma, but a few had the appearance of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma or nodules with hybrid features. We conclude that the presence of numerous oncocytic nodules may be associated with a wide spectrum of oncocytic changes in the kidney. The association of numerous renal oncocytoma-like nodules with lesions having a mixed morphology or a morphology of pure chromophobe renal cell carcinoma suggests that they may constitute a morphologic spectrum of oncocytic tumors and that renal oncocytoma and chromophobe renal cell carcinoma may arise from a common progenitor lesion.

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / pathology*
  • Adenoma, Oxyphilic / physiopathology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology*