Nucleolar grade but not Fuhrman grade is applicable to papillary renal cell carcinoma

Am J Surg Pathol. 2006 Sep;30(9):1091-6. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000209833.69972.2b.


This study was undertaken to determine the validity of Fuhrman grading in a series of papillary renal cell carcinomas (PRCCs), to examine the interrelationship and prognostic significance of the individual components of the grading system, and further to determine whether any observed predictive value was independent of other prognostic indicators. Ninety cases of PRCC were studied. Fifty-nine tumors were of type 1 and 31 were of type 2. There were 33 TNM stage 1, 26 stage 2, 18 stage 3, and 12 stage 4 tumors, whereas division of cases according to pT category showed 14 pT1a, 20 pT1b, 25 pT2, 15 pT3a, 4 pT3b, and 11 pT4 tumors. Ten tumors were grade 1, 58 grade 2, and 22 grade 3 when predominant Fuhrman grade was assigned, whereas grading according to the high-power field containing the highest grade (focal grade) showed 40 grade 2, 49 grade 3, and 1 grade 4 tumors. Measurements of nuclear size (area, major axis, perimeter) and shape (shape factor, compactness) were undertaken using image analysis. Nuclear area ranged from 27.63 to 116.39 microM, major axis length 6.70 to 14.06 microM, and nuclear perimeter 20.05 to 41.77 microM. Shape factor ranged from 0.805 to 0.878 and compactness from 14.33 to 15.66. Predominant nucleolar grade using the criteria of the Fuhrman classification was nucleolar grade 1 for 13 tumors, nucleolar grade 2 for 56 tumors, and nucleolar grade 3 for 21 tumors. Focal nucleolar grade based on the high-power field showing the greatest degree of nuclear pleomorphism, was grade 2 for 38 tumors and grade 3 for 52 tumors. pT category, TNM stage, focal Fuhrman grade, and PRCC type were significantly associated with survival. Of the various measures of the components of the Fuhrman classification, only focal nucleolar grade was associated with survival, on univariate analysis. On multivariate analysis, focal nucleolar grade and tumor diameter were independently associated with survival, whereas TNM stage retained significance independent of other parameters. It is concluded that assessment of nucleolar prominence rather than Fuhrman grade is applicable for stratification of tumors within TNM stage or pT category for PRCC and that this should be based upon the high-power field showing the greatest degree of nuclear pleomorphism.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / classification
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Papillary / ultrastructure*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / classification
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / mortality
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Nucleolus / ultrastructure*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / classification
  • Kidney Neoplasms / mortality
  • Kidney Neoplasms / ultrastructure*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging