Tubulocystic renal cell carcinoma: a review of literature focused on radiological findings for differential diagnosis

Abdom Radiol (NY). 2018 Jul;43(7):1540-1545. doi: 10.1007/s00261-018-1643-8.


Tubulocystic renal cell carcinoma (TC-RCC) has been classified as an independent subtype according to the 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) classification. It is a rare subtype that predominantly affects men. Although few in number, radiological imaging reports have suggested that TC-RCC is characterized by multilocular cystic lesions, which are categorized as the Bosniak classification II-IV, with signature pathological characteristics comprising numerous small cysts or a tubular structure. The Bosniak classification system facilitates patient management; however, the differentiation of cystic tumors exhibiting similar imaging findings remains impossible; in fact, the differentiation of multilocular cystic RCC, adult cystic nephroma, and mixed epithelial and stromal tumor remains challenging. This review aims to discuss TC-RCC with a focus on implications of radiological findings in the differential diagnosis of TC-RCC.

Keywords: CT; MRI; Mixed epithelial and stromal tumor; Multilocular cystic renal cell carcinoma; Tubulocystic renal cell carcinoma; US.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / diagnostic imaging*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / diagnostic imaging*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed