Abdominal Imaging - Original Article

Preoperative staging of renal cell carcinoma with multidetector CT

  • Aysel Türkvatan
  • Pınar Özdemir Akdur
  • Mert Altınel
  • Tülay Ölçer
  • Nesrin Turhan
  • Turhan Cumhur
  • Serkan Akıncı
  • Fatih Özkul

Received Date: 08.07.2008 Accepted Date: 19.09.2008 Diagn Interv Radiol 2009;15(1):22-30


To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) for preoperative staging of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) using the 1997 TNM (tumor, node, metastasis) classification.


We conducted a retrospective review of MDCT in 57 consecutive patients with RCC performed for tumor staging before radical (n = 51) or partial nephrectomy (n = 6). The scanning protocol of MDCT consisted of unenhanced and biphasic contrast-enhanced scans during corticomedullary and nephrographic phases. MDCT and surgical-histopathologic staging were performed using the 1997 TNM staging system. The results of MDCT were compared with the histopathological results. Agreement between the two staging methods was evaluated using the kappa (κ) statistic.


Consistency between MDCT and histopathologic staging was excellent for T staging (κ= 0.87), fair for N staging (κ= 0.40), and excellent for M staging (κ= 1.00). Fifty-one of 57 tumors were correctly staged, five overstaged and one understaged by MDCT, with an overall accuracy of 89%. MDCT was able to correctly identify and localize the extension of the tumor thrombus in all 10 patients. In the evaluation of nodal involvement, 42 of 57 patients (74%) were correctly staged, 11 (19%) overstaged, and four (7%) understaged.


MDCT with a dynamic contrast enhancement protocol is an accurate method for preoperative staging of RCC. MDCT with multiplanar reconstruction capability enables a reliable detection and characterization of the tumor, but the involvement of lymph nodes by tumor is still difficult to predict because it is based on node size criterion only.

Keywords: renal cell carcinoma , neoplasm staging , multidetector computed tomography