Intracellular lipid in clear cell renal cell carcinoma tumor thrombus and metastases detected by chemical shift (in and opposed phase) MRI: radiologic-pathologic correlation
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BACKGROUND: Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RRC) characteristically contain intracellular lipid which is also detectable in tumor thrombus and metastases. PURPOSE: To assess the incidence of intracellular lipid in clear cell RCC metastases and tumor thrombus using chemical shift MRI. MATERIAL AND METHODS: With REB approval, 33 consecutive patients with clear cell RCC and tumor thrombus/metastatic disease underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) over a 10-year period. Diagnosis was established by histopathology for tumor thrombi (n = 25) and metastases (n = 15) or growth for metastases (n = 14). Two blinded radiologists independently assessed for a signal intensity (SI) drop at chemical shift MRI (indicative of intracellular lipid) and a third radiologist established consensus. Chemical shift SI (CS-SI) index ([SItumorIP - SItumorOP]/SITumorIP x 100) was calculated. Inter-observer agreement was assessed using intra-class correlation (ICC) and tests of association were performed using the Chi-square test and Spearman correlation. RESULTS: Using CS-MRI, intracellular lipid was detected in 36.4% of clear cell RCC, with moderate agreement, (ICC = 0.5). Intracellular lipid was detected in 20% of tumor thrombi and 20% of metastases with strong agreement (ICC = 0.73). Intracellular lipid within tumor thrombi/metastases was not associated with lipid within the primary tumor (P = 0.09). There was a correlation in CS-SI index between primary tumor and thrombi/metastases when lipid was detected in both lesions (r = 0.91, P = 0.005); however, there was no correlation when lipid was not detected in both lesions (r = -0.09, P = 0.72). CONCLUSION: The presence of intracellular lipid in tumor thrombus and metastases from clear cell RCC is uncommon and, is not necessarily associated with lipid within the primary tumor at chemical shift MRI.
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