Differentiation between Clear Cell Sarcoma of the Kidney and Wilms' Tumor with CT

Korean J Radiol. 2021 Jul;22(7):1185-1193. doi: 10.3348/kjr.2020.0882. Epub 2021 Apr 1.


Objective: Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK) is the second-most common but extremely rare primary renal malignancy in children after Wilms' tumor. The aims of this study were to evaluate the imaging features that could distinguish between CCSK and Wilms' tumor and to assess the features with diagnostic value for identifying CCSK.

Materials and methods: We reviewed the initial contrast-enhanced abdominal-pelvic CT scans of children with CCSK and Wilms' tumor between 2010 to 2019. Fifty-eight children (32 males and 26 females; age, 0.3-10 years), 7 with CCSK, and 51 with Wilms' tumor, were included. The maximum tumor diameter, presence of engorged perinephric vessels, maximum density of the tumor (Tmax) of the enhancing solid portion, paraspinal muscle, contralateral renal vein density, and density ratios (Tmax/muscle and Tmax/vein) were analyzed on the renal parenchymal phase of contrast-enhanced CT. Fisher's exact tests and Mann-Whitney U tests were conducted to analyze the categorical and continuous variables, respectively. Logistic regression and receiver operating characteristic curve analyses were also performed.

Results: The age, sex, and tumor diameter did not differ between the two groups. Engorged perinephric vessels were more common in patients in the CCSK group (71% [5/7] vs. 16% [8/51], p = 0.005). Tmax (median, 148.0 vs. 111.0 Hounsfield unit, p = 0.004), Tmax/muscle (median, 2.64 vs. 1.67, p = 0.002), and Tmax/vein (median, 0.94 vs. 0.59, p = 0.002) were higher in the CCSK compared to the Wilms' group. Multiple logistic regression revealed that engorged vessels (odds ratio 13.615; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.770-104.730) and Tmax/muscle (odds ratio 5.881; 95% CI, 1.337-25.871) were significant predictors of CCSK. The cutoff values of Tmax/muscle (86% sensitivity, 77% specificity) and Tmax/vein (71% sensitivity, 86% specificity) for the diagnosis of CCSK were 1.97 and 0.76, respectively.

Conclusion: Perinephric vessel engorgement and greater tumor enhancement (Tmax/muscle > 1.97 or Tmax/vein > 0.76) are helpful for differentiating between CCSK and Wilms' tumor in children aged below 10 years.

Keywords: Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney; Image enhancement; Pediatric renal tumor; Peritumoral vessel; Wilms' tumor.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Kidney / diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Sarcoma, Clear Cell* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wilms Tumor* / diagnostic imaging