The origin of metastatic carcinoma is now always easily resolved on the basis of conventional clinical and pathological parameters, particularly in patients with more than 1 primary tumor. When 1 of the tumors is a renal cell carcinoma, the clinical picture is further confounded by the tendency of these tumors to be locally silent, to metastasize to unusual sites, and to disseminate long after removal of the primary tumor. We compared tumors for loss (ie, deletion) of loci on chromosomal arms 3p, 5q, 11q, and 18q in a patient with a malignant ascites fluid, a remote history of renal and colonic neoplasms, and a strong clinical suspicion of disseminated gastrointestinal adenocarcinoma. DNA from microdissected tumors and normal tissues was subjected to polymerase chain reaction-based microsatellite analysis. Even though the clinical picture suggested a gastrointestinal origin, comparison of genetic alterations clearly showed that the malignant ascites represented recurrence of the renal cell carcinoma. The malignant ascites and the primary renal cell carcinoma showed identical patterns of allelic loss at all loci tested. In contrast, the malignant ascites and colonic adenoma showed discordant patterns of allelic loss. Comparative microsatellite analysts provides a rapid genetic approach for discerning the origin of metastatic tumor spread. This may be a useful diagnostic adjunct when tumor origin is not clear on clinical or morphological grounds. In some instances, it may even provide a reasonable alternative to an extensive and costly conventional work-up.
- Loss of heterozygosity
- Renal cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine