Gender and renal cancer: do variations in clinical presentation and imaging patterns explain observed differences between males and females?

Urology. 2010 Sep;76(3):536-40. doi: 10.1016/j.urology.2009.11.029. Epub 2010 Feb 6.


Objectives: To determine whether gender variations in imaging and healthcare access are contributing to observed differences in renal cancer, we examine the initial events in the diagnosis of renal masses in a cohort of patients and correlate it with detailed data on imaging patterns over the same period.

Methods: A total of 308 patients diagnosed with a renal mass over 11 years were reviewed. Information on symptoms, imaging, diagnosing physician, demographics, and pathology was gathered. Data on imaging for 1 862 485 patients at our institution over the same period were also collected. The data were analyzed for temporal trends, gender variations, and differences between incidental and nonincidental masses.

Results: Females presented with smaller masses (4.8 vs 6.0 cm, P = .0064), and were less likely to have clear cell tumors (58.7% vs 63.4%, P = .049). A total of 66.9% of female and 61.1% of male cases were incidental (not significant). In both males and females, primary care physicians were the most common diagnosing physicians (47.4% and 49.6%, respectively). Gynecologic complaints were an uncommon cause of diagnosis for women (5.3%). Computerized tomography was the most common diagnosing modality for both males and females (69.1% and 63.2%, respectively). Ultrasound as the diagnosing modality did not reach statistical significance between males and females (23.4% and 28.6%, respectively). During the 11- year period, women underwent more imaging studies overall than men (19.7% difference), but the difference was lower when only considering studies that can diagnose renal masses (6.4% difference).

Conclusions: Gender variations in imaging rates and presentation for obstetrics/gynecology concerns by females did not lead to a significant difference in incidental diagnosis and do not appear adequate to explain gender differences in renal cancer presentation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Ultrasonography