Clear cell renal cell tumors: Not all that is "clear" is cancer

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Urol oncol


Continued improvement of our understanding of the clinical, histologic, and genetic features of renal cell tumors has progressively evolved renal tumor classification, revealing an expanding array of distinct tumor types with different implications for prognosis, patient counseling, and treatment. Although clear cell renal cell carcinoma is unequivocally the most common adult renal tumor, there is growing evidence that some "clear cell" renal neoplasms, such as exemplified by multilocular cystic clear cell renal neoplasm of low malignant potential (formerly multilocular cystic renal cell carcinoma), do not have the same potential for insidious progression and metastasis, warranting reclassification as low malignant potential tumors or benign neoplasms. Still other novel tumor types such as clear cell papillary renal cell carcinoma have been more recently recognized, which similarly have shown a conspicuous absence of aggressive behavior to date, suggesting that these too may be recategorized as noncancerous or may be premalignant neoplasms. This importance for prognosis is increasingly significant in the modern era, in which renal masses are increasingly found incidentally by imaging techniques at a small tumor size, raising consideration for less aggressive management options guided by renal mass biopsy diagnosis, including imaging surveillance, tumor ablation, or partial nephrectomy.

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Adenocarcinoma, Clear Cell; Carcinoma, Renal Cell; Humans; Kidney Neoplasms; Nephrectomy; Prognosis

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