Comprehensive Clinicopathologic Analyses of Acquired Cystic Disease-associated Renal Cell Carcinoma With Focus on Adverse Prognostic Factors and Metastatic Lesions

Am J Surg Pathol. 2020 Aug;44(8):1031-1039. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001482.


Acquired cystic disease of kidney-associated renal cell carcinoma (ACD-RCC) is a distinct subtype of renal cell carcinoma with unique morphologic and clinicopathologic features. Generally, ACD-RCC is regarded as an indolent tumor; however, prognostic and outcomes data have been conflicted by the limited and relatively low number of cases with patient follow-up or adverse events. In this study, we focused on the histology of metastatic lesions and identifying prognostic factors associated with metastatic progression. From 32 cases in the cohort, 9 patients had metastasis [ACD-RCC (M+)] and 23 patients were without metastasis [ACD-RCC (M-)]. The median age of patients was 52 years; right side, n=10; left side, n=18; bilateral, n=4; median tumor size=2.6 cm; median hemodialysis duration=17 y; and the median duration of follow-up was 50 mo. Immunohistochemistry showed ACD-RCC to be racemase positive and CK7 negative to focally positive within tumor cells, with consistent positivity for renal histogenesis-associated markers (PAX8 and RCC antigen); S100A1 was a less reliable marker at metastatic sites. All metastatic ACD-RCC except 2 cases involved lymph nodes (para-aortic, renal hilar, subclavicular). Overall, 6/9 (67%) had visceral metastasis to sites including lung (n=3), liver (n=3), bone (n=5), stomach (n=1), and brain (n=1). In total, 5/9 (56%) metastatic tumors had distinctive cystic growth pattern at the metastatic site; intriguingly metastatic tumors had intrametastatic oxalate crystal deposition, a pathognomonic feature associated with primary tumors. Four of nine (44%) patients with ACD-RCC (M+) had fatal outcomes due to metastatic disease. Clinically significant adverse prognostic features associated with metastasis [median follow-up 47 mo, ACD-RCC (M+) vs. ACD-RCC (M-), 50 mo] included: duration of hemodialysis (≥20 vs. <20 y, P=0.0085) and tumor necrosis (P=0.049). Because of sufficient overlap between these parameters, the study was not able to identify parameters that would be reliable in further management strategies, in clinical settings. Our data indicate that ACD-RCC is a tumor which has distinct metastatic potential with nodal and visceral tropism and proclivity for cystic morphology at metastatic sites; this is the first report of the presence of oxalate crystals in metastatic tumors. Our data suggest that ACD-RCC patients with prolonged hemodialysis and tumoral coagulative necrosis require additional surveillance in view of the association of these parameters with metastatic progression.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / chemistry
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / etiology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / secondary*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / therapy
  • Crystallization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / complications*
  • Kidney Diseases, Cystic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / etiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy
  • Kidney Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy
  • Lymphatic Metastasis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxalic Acid / analysis
  • Prognosis
  • Renal Dialysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Oxalic Acid