Mod Pathol 2007 Sep 20;20(9):914-20. Epub 2007 Jul 20.
1State University of Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil.
We report seven cases of renal medullary carcinoma collected from several institutions in Brazil. In spite of a relatively high incidence of sickle cell trait in Brazil, this is a rare tumor. All patients were males between the ages of 8 and 69 years (mean 22 years). From the collected information, the most frequent presenting symptoms were gross hematuria and flank or abdominal pain. The duration of symptoms ranged from 1 week to 5 months. Most of the tumors were poorly circumscribed arising centrally in the renal medulla. Size ranged from 4 to 12 cm (mean 7 cm) and hemorrhage and necrosis were common findings. All seven cases described showed sickled red blood cells in the tissue and six patients were confirmed to have sickle cell trait. All cases disclosed the characteristic reticular pattern consisting of tumor cell aggregates forming spaces of varied size, reminiscent of yolk sac testicular tumors of reticular type. Other findings included microcystic, tubular, trabecular, solid and adenoid-cystic patterns, rhabdoid-like cells and stromal desmoplasia. A peculiar feature was suppurative necrosis typically resembling microabscesses within epithelial aggregates. The medullary carcinoma of the 69-year-old patient was associated with a conventional clear cell carcinoma. To our knowledge, this association has not been previously reported and the patient is the oldest in the literature. The survival after diagnosis or admission ranged from 4 days to 9 months. The 8-year-old African-Brazilian patient with a circumscribed mass is alive and free of recurrence 8 years after diagnosis. This case raises the question whether a periodic search for renal medullary carcinoma in young patients who have known abnormalities of the hemoglobin gene and hematuria could result in an early diagnosis and a better survival.