Renal cell carcinoma metastatic to the tongue: a case report and review of the literature

J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2015 Jun;73(6):1227-30. doi: 10.1016/j.joms.2014.12.031. Epub 2015 Jan 8.


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) metastatic to the head and neck region is quite rare. This report describes a case of RCC metastatic to the oral tongue presenting initially with a renal mass that evaded diagnosis by biopsy examination of the primary lesion and was eventually established as a papillary type RCC by lingual biopsy examination. The tongue mass progressed rapidly despite chemotherapy with interferon-α2b, caused difficulties with oral food intake, and thus necessitated removal by partial glossectomy. Treatment alternatives for lingual RCC metastasis include surgical resection for major functional impairment, risk of airway compromise, or massive hemorrhage. Radiotherapy might be useful and should be considered for specific patients. Lingual metastasis from RCC usually predicts poor survival.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Biopsy / methods
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glossectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Indoles / therapeutic use
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha / therapeutic use
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Male
  • Multimodal Imaging / methods
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Palliative Care
  • Positron-Emission Tomography / methods
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use
  • Sunitinib
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods
  • Tongue Neoplasms / pathology
  • Tongue Neoplasms / secondary*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Indoles
  • Interferon alpha-2
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Pyrroles
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sunitinib