Objectives: We previously noted that the aorta-lesion-attenuation difference (ALAD) determined on CT scan discriminated well between chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma. The current evaluation seeks to validate these initial findings in a second cohort of nephrectomy patients.
Methods: A retrospective review of preoperative CT scans and surgical pathology was performed on patients undergoing nephrectomy for small, solid renal masses. ALAD was calculated by measuring the difference in Hounsfield units (HU) between the aorta and the lesion of interest on the same image slice on preoperative CT scan. The discriminative ability of ALAD to differentiate malignant pathology from oncocytoma was evaluated by sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), and area under curve (AUC) using ROC analysis.
Results: Twenty-one preoperative CT scans and corresponding pathology reports were reviewed and included in the validation cohort. ALAD values were calculated during the excretory and nephrographic phases. Compared to the training cohort, patients in the validation cohort were significantly older (62 versus 59 years old), had larger tumors (3.7 versus 2.7 cm), and higher stage disease (59% versus 79% T1a disease). Nephrographic ALAD was able to differentiate malignant pathology from oncocytoma in the training and validation cohorts with a sensitivity of 84% versus 73%, specificity of 86% and 67%, PPV of 98% versus 91%, and NPV of 33% versus 35%. The AUC for malignant pathology versus oncocytoma in the validation cohort was 0.72 (95% CI 0.63-0.82). Nephrographic ALAD was able to differentiate chromophobe RCC from oncocytoma in the training and validation cohorts with a sensitivity of 100% versus 67%, specificity of 86% versus 67%, PPV of 75% versus 43%, and NPV of 100% versus 84%. The AUC for chromophobe RCC versus oncocytoma in the validation cohort was 0.72 (95% CI 0.48-0.96).
Conclusions: The ability of ALAD to discriminate between chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma was diminished in the validation cohort compared to the training cohort, but remained significant. The current findings support further investigation in the role of ALAD in the management of patients with indeterminate diagnoses of oncocytic neoplasm.
Keywords: Chromophobe; Computed tomography (CT); Oncocytic neoplasm; Oncocytoma; Renal cell carcinoma.