Kidney Cancer pp 139-155 | Cite as

Renal Mass Biopsy

  • Kanishka SircarEmail author
  • Pheroze Tamboli


Evaluation of renal masses is critical for proper patient management. Clinical and radiological evaluation are paramount with the latter indicating whether a renal mass is solid or cystic and the complexity of a radiographically detected cyst using the Bosniak criteria. Historically, virtually all solid or complex cystic renal masses were surgically resected without biopsy confirmation as it did not alter management and was viewed as introducing unnecessary morbidity. Over the past two decades, clinical thinking has gradually changed to accept the safety and utility of renal mass biopsy for subsets of patients for whom histologic biopsy diagnosis is potentially useful. While the large majority of patients who undergo surgical resection of their renal masses are still not biopsied, many patients with smaller tumors who are candidates for ablation or surveillance or patients with advanced disease are increasingly biopsied in contemporary practice. Accordingly, we will discuss the clinical situations where renal mass biopsy may be indicated, its performance characteristics, as well as the general approach to pathologic evaluation and limitations of renal mass biopsy.


Renal mass biopsy Biopsy of renal mass Bosniak criteria Nonrenal primary tumor Post biopsy hematoma Angiomyolipoma Metanephric adenoma Papillary adenoma 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Departments of Pathology and Translational Molecular PathologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Division of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Department of PathologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA

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