Purpose: To correlate the enhancement pattern of double-phase helical computed tomography (CT) of small renal parenchymal neoplasms with pathologic findings and tumor angiogenesis, and evaluate whether the enhancement pattern would be useful in differentiating the histomorphologic types of small renal parenchymal neoplasms.
Materials and methods: Double-phase helical CT (5 mm slice) of the corticomedullary phase (CMP) and late nephrographic phase (NP) was performed in 40 surgically resected renal neoplasms <3.5 cm. The patterns of CT attenuation value and homogeneity were correlated with the subtypes of neoplasms, microvessel density, and the existence of intratumoral necrosis or hemorrhage.
Results: Clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCC) (n = 29) showed a peak attenuation value in the CMP of >100 HU [Hounsfield units]. Chromophobe cell RCC (n = 2) showed a peak attenuation value in the CMP of <100 HU. Papillary RCC (n = 5) showed a gradual enhancement with the attenuation value in the CMP of <100 HU. However oncocytomas (n = 2) and metanephric adenomas (n = 2) also showed patterns similar to these subtypes of RCC. The degree of enhancement in the CMP correlated with microvessel density (r = 0.87). All tumors with an homogeneous enhancement pattern did not show necrosis or hemorrhage on histologic specimen.
Conclusion: The enhancement pattern in double-phase helical CT was different among the subtypes of RCC, and correlated with microvessel density or the existence of intratumoral necrosis or hemorrhage. However it did not differentiate between RCC and other solid tumors.