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Adult rhabdoid renal cell carcinoma.

BACKGROUND: Pediatric rhabdoid tumor of the kidney is regarded as a distinct neoplasm, whereas rhabdoid differentiation in adult renal cell carcinoma is usually found in association with conventional (clear cell) tumor, from which it is thought to evolve.

OBJECTIVE: To further characterize the rhabdoid phenotype in adult renal cell carcinoma and to determine its origin by genetic analysis.

DESIGN: We performed histologic, immunophenotypic, and genetic analyses on 5 cases of adult renal cell carcinoma with rhabdoid differentiation, 3 samples of adjacent conventional (clear cell) tumor, and 6 conventional (clear cell) control tumors.

RESULTS: Rhabdoid tumors differed from conventional (clear cell) carcinoma as follows: (1) macroscopically, rhabdoid tumors were solid white uniform masses; (2) microscopically, they had large rhabdoid cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm, reduced lipid content, and the absence of a branching vascular pattern; and (3) biologically, they had a high metastatic potential. Despite these differences, loss of chromosome 3p in both the rhabdoid and clear cell carcinoma samples from 1 patient suggested a clonal origin. An identical mutation of the VHL gene in both rhabdoid and clear cell tumor samples from 2 patients confirmed a clonal origin for the histologically distinct tumor types in those cases.

CONCLUSION: Adult rhabdoid renal cell carcinoma can in some cases arise from conventional (clear cell) renal carcinoma and should be considered a clinically important form of renal cell carcinoma separate from, but analogous to, sarcomatoid change.

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