, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 530-537
Date: 01 Sep 2006

Venous spread of renal cell carcinoma: MDCT

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The purpose of our study was to present multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) findings in venous spread of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), to determine the superior extent of tumor thrombus and to compare MDCT findings with surgical report.


The prospective MDCT study was performed on 31 patients diagnosed with RCC with venous spread (19 males and 12 females; age range 39–80 years; mean age 62.6 years). CT scans were obtained by MDCT scanner, in triphasic scanning protocol. All postprocessing techniques were performed by two independent radiologists, and the findings were reported in their consensus. MDCT diagnosis was compared with surgical and pathohistological findings.


Tumor thrombus extension into renal vein only (T3b stage) was found in 13/31 (42%) patients. Involvement of infradiaphragmatic level of inferior vena cava (IVC) (T3c stage) was found in 14/31 (45%) patients and supradiaphragmatic level of IVC (T4b stage) in 4/31 (13%) patients. In 27/31 (87%) patients surgery was performed, while 4/31 (13%) could not undergo surgery. In comparison with surgical report, in 25/27 (93%) operated patients the upper extent of the tumor thrombus was correctly diagnosed by MDCT, and 2/27 (7%) patients were falsely diagnosed.


MDCT represents a fast, relatively inexpensive, and reliable diagnostic method for evaluating the venous spread of RCC as well as the level of its upper extent. Triphasic MDCT is often the only diagnostic method necessary for planning the surgical procedure. Surgery should be performed as soon as possible for MDCT findings to be valid.