Contemporary diagnosis and management of renal angiomyolipoma

J Urol. 2002 Oct;168(4 Pt 1):1315-25. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5347(05)64440-0.


Purpose: We present a comprehensive resource that summarizes contemporary advances relevant to the clinical management of renal angiomyolipoma.

Materials and methods: A MEDLINE search was done using the key words angiomyolipoma, hemangioma or lipoma and kidney neoplasm, and therapeutic embolization. References from these articles were reviewed to identify additional relevant source material. We identified 13 series published since 1986 comprising 336 patients as well as 24 reports of therapeutic embolization for angiomyolipoma, comprising 76 patients. To our knowledge we report the largest compilation series to date.

Results: Angiomyolipoma is generally benign, although an uncommon subtype (epithelioid angiomyolipoma) may behave more aggressively. Tuberous sclerosis associated angiomyolipoma tends to be larger, multiple and more likely to cause spontaneous hemorrhage than the sporadic entity. Tumors that hemorrhage tend to be larger. Computerized tomography or magnetic resonance is usually sufficient for diagnosis. Biopsy is rarely useful. Primary indications for intervention include symptoms such as pain or bleeding or suspicion of malignancy. Prophylactic intervention is justifiable for large tumors, in females of childbearing age or in patients in whom followup or access to emergency care may be inadequate. Recent advances that have affected management include improved understanding of tuberous sclerosis complex and angiomyolipoma genetics, the identification of molecular markers that facilitate histopathological diagnosis, and the refinement of embolization and partial nephrectomy techniques.

Conclusions: Although some cases of angiomyolipoma may require complete nephrectomy, most can be managed by conservative nephron sparing approaches. Ongoing research into the molecular biology and clinical behavior of angiomyolipoma may improve our ability to manage these lesions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiomyolipoma / diagnosis
  • Angiomyolipoma / genetics
  • Angiomyolipoma / therapy*
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Embolization, Therapeutic
  • Female
  • Genetic Markers / genetics
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Nephrectomy


  • Genetic Markers