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Renal Metastases


Thenappan Chandrasekar

, MD, Thomas Jefferson University

Reviewed/Revised Oct 2023

Nonrenal cancers may metastasize to the kidneys. The most common cancers that metastasize to the kidney are melanomas and solid tumors, particularly lung Overview of Lung Tumors Lung tumors may be Primary Metastatic from other sites in the body Primary tumors of the lung may be Malignant (see table ) read more , breast Breast Cancer Breast cancers are most often epithelial tumors involving the ducts or lobules. Most patients present with an asymptomatic mass discovered during examination or screening mammography. Diagnosis... read more Breast Cancer , stomach Stomach Cancer Etiology of stomach cancer is multifactorial, but Helicobacter pylori plays a significant role. Symptoms include early satiety, obstruction, and bleeding but tend to occur late in the... read more Stomach Cancer , gynecologic Introduction to Gynecologic Tumors Gynecologic cancers involve the uterus, ovaries, cervix, vulva, vagina, fallopian tubes, or peritoneum. Gestational trophoblastic disease is a group of proliferative disorders originating from... read more , intestinal, and pancreatic Pancreatic Cancer Pancreatic cancer, primarily ductal adenocarcinoma, accounts for an estimated 64,050 cases and 50,550 deaths in the United States annually ( 1). Symptoms include weight loss, abdominal pain... read more . Leukemia Overview of Leukemia Leukemia is a malignant condition involving the excess production of immature or abnormal leukocytes, which eventually suppresses the production of normal blood cells and results in symptoms... read more and lymphoma Overview of Lymphoma Lymphomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors arising in the reticuloendothelial and lymphatic systems. The major types are Hodgkin lymphoma Non-Hodgkin lymphoma See table Comparison of Hodgkin... read more may invade the kidneys, which then appear enlarged, often asymmetrically.

Despite extensive interstitial involvement, symptoms are rare, and renal function may not change from baseline. Proteinuria is absent or insignificant, and blood urea and creatinine levels rarely increase unless a complication (eg, uric acid nephropathy, hypercalcemia, bacterial infection) occurs.

Renal metastases are usually discovered during evaluation of the primary tumor or incidentally during abdominal imaging. If there is no known primary tumor, diagnosis and treatment proceed as for renal cell carcinoma Renal Cell Carcinoma Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common renal cancer. Symptoms can include hematuria, flank pain, a palpable mass, and fever of unknown origin (FUO). However, symptoms are often absent... read more Renal Cell Carcinoma .

Treatment is systemic therapy for the primary tumor and, rarely, surgery. However, partial or radical nephrectomy may be necessary to guide choice of systemic therapy in cases where core needle biopsy is unable to provide sufficient tissue or if renal mass persists in the absence of other metastatic disease.

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