On light microscopic examination, the morphologically overlapping features of granular eosinophilic cytoplasm in renal oncocytoma and the eosinophilic variants of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and conventional (clear cell) renal cell carcinoma may pose difficulties in diagnosis. We investigated the ultrastructure of 5 renal oncocytomas, 7 eosinophilic variants of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, and 5 eosinophilic variants of conventional (clear cell) renal cell carcinoma. Special attention was paid to mitochondria and microvesicles and interrelations thereof. The electron microscopic features were correlated with the light microscopic findings. All of the tumors had abundant mitochondria. Although abundant microvesicles were present in all of the chromophobe renal cell carcinomas, scant numbers of microvesicles were also sometimes present in renal oncocytomas (2 of 5) and in the eosinophilic variant of conventional (clear cell) renal cell carcinoma (1 of 5). The mitochondria in all three types of renal neoplasms studied differed in morphology, being predominantly uniform and round with predominantly lamellar cristae in renal oncocytoma, variable in shape and size with predominantly tubulocystic cristae in chromophobe renal cell carcinoma, and swollen and pleomorphic with rarefied matrix and attenuated cristae in the eosinophilic variant of conventional (clear cell) renal cell carcinoma. Variable numbers of mitochondria in all of the chromophobe renal cell carcinomas had outpouchings of the outer membranes, some of which carded parts of inner membrane within them. These outpouchings closely resembled the nearby cytoplasmic microvesicles, as did the tubulocystic cristae of the mitochondria. Some microvesicles contained homogeneous, electrondense, finely granular matrix, similar to that seen in mitochondria. In one of seven chromophobe renal cell carcinomas, microvesicles were present in rough endoplasmic reticulum, and in two others, mitochondria were present within some vesicles. These features strongly suggest a close relationship between the microvesicles and mitochondria. Based on the role of vesicle formation in normal mitochondriogenesis, and some of our observations, we propose that defective mitochondriogenesis may be the source of microvesicles in chromophobe renal cell carcinomas.
- Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma
- Eosinophilic variant of conventional (clear cell) renal cell carcinoma
- Hybrid oncocytic tumors
- Renal cell carcinoma
- Renal oncocytoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine