Role of renal mass biopsy for diagnosis and management: Review of current trends and future directions

Bonnie Choy*, Ritu Nayar, Xiaoqi Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The frequency of detection of renal masses has increased over recent decades, causing a concurrent increase in early intervention by surgery. Growing recognition that this approach was contributing to overtreatment led to the broader use of preoperative renal mass biopsy (RMB) by core biopsy and/or fine-needle aspiration. Because more options for management, such as active surveillance and personalized therapy, are becoming increasingly available, a diagnosis by RMB is becoming a valuable tool for risk stratification and clinical decision making. Guidelines from various professional organizations have outlined situations in which RMB should be used, and it has been shown to be safe and effective. Rapid on-site evaluation (ROSE) using touch preparations of core biopsy or fine-needle aspiration smears provides an immediate assessment of adequacy and appropriate triage. ROSE also ensures sufficient material to perform immunohistochemistry and molecular studies for more accurate characterization of renal masses and personalized treatment. The integral role of cytopathology laboratories in precision medicine can also be successfully used in optimizing the workup of RMB from ROSE to final diagnosis, prognostication, and personalized management of kidney tumors. Herein, the authors review their extensive experience working together with interventional radiology and urology colleagues to use core biopsy and ROSE at the time of RMB for diagnosis and management of these lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-494
Number of pages15
JournalCancer Cytopathology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • core biopsy
  • cytomorphology
  • fine-needle aspiration
  • immunohistochemistry
  • kidney
  • molecular studies
  • renal mass
  • touch preparations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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