Differentiating Oncocytic Renal Tumors from Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma: Comparison of Peak Early-phase Enhancement Ratio to Clinical Risk Factors and Rater Predictions

Hiten D. Patel*, Kevin Huai, Nicholas Elliott, Deanna L. Thorson, Goran Rac, Maria M. Picken, Marcus L. Quek, Davide Bova, Gopal N. Gupta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Most surgically resected benign renal tumors are found to be oncocytomas or indolent hybrid oncocytic tumors, which are difficult to differentiate from chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (chRCC) on renal mass biopsy. Both often exhibit CD117+ staining. Objective: To evaluate the ability of the peak early-phase enhancement ratio (PEER) to distinguish oncocytomas from chRCC and compare its discrimination to traditional clinical risk factors and blinded clinical raters. Design, setting, and participants: This was a diagnostic case-control study of patients (2006–2020) with oncocytoma or chRCC according to surgical pathology. Intervention: Partial or radical nephrectomy. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Three clinical raters blinded to histology measured the PEER and the presence of stellate scar and predicted the final histology for each tumor. Averaged and individual PEER values were compared to surgical pathology and assessed for interobserver variability. Subanalyses were conducted for patients with confirmed CD117+ status. Results and limitations: For the 76 patients identified, PEER was higher among the 32 (42.1%) oncocytomas than among the 44 (57.9%) chRCCs (median 0.81 vs 0.43; p < 0.001), with high correlation across raters (correlation coefficients ≥0.85). A PEER cutoff of <0.60 was strongly associated with identification of chRCC (OR 95.7 (95% CI 19.9–460.8), p < 0.001). In the overall and CD117+ cohorts, sensitivity was 93.2% and 97.0%, the negative predictive value was 90.3% and 95.5%, and the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) on multivariable modeling was 95.0% and 98.1%, respectively. PEER outperformed models with clinical risk factors alone (AUC 70.4%) and histology predictions by three raters (AUC 51.6%, 62.5%, and 63.1%). Limitations include reliance on surgical pathology and inclusion of a mix of early contrast-enhanced phases. Conclusions: PEER reliably differentiated benign renal oncocytomas and indolent hybrid tumors from malignant chRCC with excellent diagnostic performance. A diagnostic pathway with biopsy, CD117 staining, and PEER deserves further study to potentially avoid unnecessary surgery for oncocytic renal tumors. Patient summary: We assessed a measurement called PEER on computed tomography (CT) scans and found higher values for benign and lower values for malignant kidney masses, so we were able to tell these apart. PEER was reliable for identifying tumors with positive staining for the CD117 protein biomarker as well as in the overall patient group. Our results show that PEER could be considered for use with biopsy and CD117 staining to potentially avoid unnecessary surgery for benign kidney masses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-14
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Urology Open Science
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Computed tomography
  • Contrast enhancement
  • Kidney cancer
  • Nephrectomy
  • Oncocytic renal neoplasms
  • Oncocytoma
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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