Renal metastasis after esophagectomy of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma: a case report and literature review
© Sun et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014
Received: 10 November 2013
Accepted: 2 May 2014
Published: 26 May 2014
Solitary metastatic renal tumors are rarely encountered. We report the case of a 63-year-old man who developed a solitary renal metastasis after undergoing an esophagectomy for esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and subsequent nephrectomy of the right kidney.
Reported cases of metastatic renal tumor of esophageal cancer
OS after renal metastasis (month)
Nephrectomy + Chemotherapy
Nephrectomy + Chemotherapy
Nephrectomy + radiotherapy
Chemotherapy + irradiation + nephrectomy
The patient died of whole body metastasis and respiratory failure in December 2009.
The incidence of distant metastases from a resectable esophageal carcinoma has been reported as approximately 20% to 30% . Several reports demonstrated that the most common site of spread is the abdominal lymph nodes, followed by the liver, lung and bone. Autopsy studies have shown that about 12% of patients dying of cancer have renal metastases, making the kidney a common metastatic site . In contrast to autopsy findings, clinical detection of these tumors is rare. The reason may be attributable to ignorance of such rare metastases while the patient is alive. Most patients with renal metastases are asymptomatic, despite extensive renal involvement. Hematuria and proteinuria occur in fewer than 20% of patients. Therefore, the diagnosis of renal metastases is very difficult and it is often found accidentally.
There are some differences in clinical manifestation between primary renal cell carcinoma and metastatic carcinoma. Most primary renal cell carcinomas are, on average, larger than metastatic renal tumors. Metastatic renal tumors are frequently observed in subcapsular locations. The typical pattern of renal metastases consists of multiple small nodules and almost all cases are associated with widespread non-renal metastases . Moreover, unilateral, solitary renal metastasis is extremely rare. With respect to the pathology, the clear cell type is most commonly observed in primary renal cell carcinoma. However, squamous cell carcinoma has the highest occurrence among metastatic renal tumors from esophageal carcinoma.
Because of the rarity of renal metastasis of esophageal carcinoma, no conclusive treatment has been established yet according to the European Association of Urology (EAU) guidelines and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. Imada et al.  suggested that an aggressive and careful surgical approach with adequate follow-up may offer a chance of long-term survival for patients with multiple cancers. Grise et al.  reported that solitary metastatic renal tumor could be an indication for nephrectomy. In our case, since the tumor seemed to be a solitary renal metastasis without any other metastatic lesions, nephrectomy was performed. Pathological assessment showed a single metastatic squamous carcinoma of the same cell type as the previous esophagus cancer. The present case serves to demonstrate that careful follow up is needed for esophageal cancer patients with a cancer in another organ including rare site metastasis.
The median survival following the detection of a recurrent or metastatic esophageal carcinoma is two to ten months . The treatment outcome of a recurrent disease is disappointing, and the prognosis is poor. In this case, the patient achieved a nine-month recurrence free survival time after esophagectomy, and recurred with a solitary metastasis mass in the right kidney. A nephrectomy was performed and the patient died of metastasis three months later.
In summary, a renal metastasis after anesophagectomy of esophageal carcinoma is reported. Renal metastasis should be considered whenever a mass in the kidney is identified. The prognosis is poor even when surgery is performed.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for the publication of this report and any accompanying images.
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