Clear cell sarcoma, cellular mesoblastic nephroma and metanephric adenoma: cytological features and differential diagnosis with Wilms tumour

Cytopathology. 2008 Apr;19(2):80-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2303.2007.00460.x. Epub 2007 Aug 6.


Wilms' Tumour (WT) is the most common kidney tumour in childhood, this fact and the embryonic complexity of WT create, whenever one of its three classical components predominates in cytologic smears, difficulties in the differential diagnoses with other less common entities. In the present study, we review the cytological and immunohistochemical characteristics of three children renal tumours, a Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney (CCSK-case1), a Cellular Mesoblastic Nephroma (CMN-case2) and a Metanephric Adenoma (MA-case3) and compare them, for differential diagnostic purposes, with smears of blastematous, mesenchymal and epithelial predominant WTs, previously diagnosed in our Department. In all cases a mass was detected in the abdomen (2 and 8 year old children-cases 1 and 3, respectively), and pre-birth in case 2 (the tumour was detected during pregnancy). Fine needle biopsy was performed followed by routine cytologic examination. The presence of moderate amount of blue pale cytoplasm in neoplastic cells (case1), the presence of tightly cohesive, bland, spindle tumour cells (case2) and the identification of small, well differentiated epithelial tubules with psammoma bodies in case 3, were the main morphologic characteristics that we think represent the most important elements for distinguishing our cases from a WT. Immunoreactivity was only helpful in case 1 as we found a characteristic dot-like pattern positivity for vimentin, in the absence of immunoreactivity for the other markers that are usually positive in WT. Summing up, these three cases demonstrate that cytopathologists should be aware of the occurrence of uncommon renal neoplasms in childhood and should be acquainted with their characteristics, in order to avoid false diagnoses.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adenoma / chemistry
  • Adenoma / pathology*
  • Adenoma / surgery
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Biopsy, Fine-Needle
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cytoplasm / chemistry
  • Cytoplasm / pathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inclusion Bodies / chemistry
  • Inclusion Bodies / pathology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kidney Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / surgery
  • Male
  • Nephroma, Mesoblastic / chemistry
  • Nephroma, Mesoblastic / pathology*
  • Nephroma, Mesoblastic / surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / chemistry
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / pathology*
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell / surgery
  • Wilms Tumor / chemistry
  • Wilms Tumor / pathology*
  • Wilms Tumor / surgery


  • Biomarkers, Tumor