Skeletal Muscle Metastasis from Renal Cell Carcinoma : 21 cases and review of the literature

Tamara Miner Haygood, Mohamed Sayyouh, Jason Wong, Jennifer C. Lin, Aurelio Matamoros, Carl Sandler, John E. Madewell


Objectives: This study aimed to raise radiologists’ awareness of skeletal muscle metastases (SMM) in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cases and to clarify their imaging appearance. Methods: A retrospective analysis was undertaken of 21 patients between 44–75 years old with 72 SMM treated from January 1990 to May 2009 at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, USA. Additionally, 37 patients with 44 SMM from a literature review were analysed. Results: Among the 21 patients, the majority of SMM were asymptomatic and detected via computed tomography (CT). Mean metastasis size was 18.3 mm and the most common site was the trunk muscles (83.3%). The interval between discovery of the primary tumour and metastasis detection ranged up to 234 months. Peripheral enhancement (47.1%) was the most common post-contrast CT pattern and non-contrasted CT lesions were often isodense. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) characteristics were varied. Five lesions with available T1-weighted pre-contrast images were hyperintense to the surrounding muscle. Other organ metastases were present in 20 patients. Of the 44 SMM reported in the literature, the majority were symptomatic. Average metastasis size was 53.4 mm and only 20.5% of SMM were in trunk muscles. The average interval between tumour discovery and metastasis detection was 101 months. Other organ metastases were recorded in 17 out of 29 patients. Conclusion: SMM should always be considered in patients with RCC, even well after primary treatment. SMM from RCC may be invisible on CT without intravenous contrast; contrast-enhanced studies are therefore recommended. SMM are often hyperintense to the surrounding muscle on T1-weighted MRI scans.


Renal Cell Carcinoma; Skeletal Muscle; Metastasis; United States.

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Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, PO Box 35, Postal Code 123, Al-Khod, Muscat, Oman

ISSN (Print edition): 2075-051X ISSN (Internet edition): 2075-0528

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