Background: Fumarate hydratase (FH)-deficient renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is rare and highly aggressive and is believed to arise mostly in the setting of hereditary leiomyomatosis-RCC syndrome with a germline mutation of FH. Because of the aggressiveness of these tumors and a frequent lack of ascertainable family history, these tumors may first present as metastases and be sampled by cytology. The cytologic findings of FH-deficient RCC have not previously been reported. Methods: Cytologic and limited biopsy samples from patients with FH-deficient RCC were reviewed retrospectively. Results: In total, 24 cytologic and limited biopsy samples from 19 patients (6 women and 13 men; age range, 22-69 years) who had FH-deficient RCC and metastasis at presentation were evaluated. These included 21 cytology samples ranging from malignant effusions (n = 7) to metastases (n = 11), to samples of primary kidney tumors (n = 3). The samples exhibited cells, often in clusters and abortive papillae, with voluminous, finely vacuolated cytoplasm and large, pleomorphic nuclei with prominent, viral inclusion-like nucleoli. A distinctive finding of peripheral cytoplasmic clearing frequently was apparent, and intranuclear cytoplasmic pseudoinclusions were less frequent. Of 7 cell block and biopsy samples, several of which represented sampling from the same patient, all demonstrated tissue fragments that had discernable morphologic patterns associated with FH-deficient RCC, including tubulocystic and intracystic papillary growth. Conclusions: Features characteristic and suggestive of FH-deficient RCC may be identified in cytologic and small biopsy samples. Although the current samples were identified retrospectively in well characterized cases of FH-deficient RCC, the authors argue that, with appropriate clinical correlation, these features are sufficiently distinctive to trigger recognition and confirmatory workup.
- aspiration cytology
- fumarate hydratase-deficient renal cell carcinoma
- hereditary leiomyomatosis-renal cell carcinoma syndrome
- hereditary neoplasia
- renal cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research