"Aggressive" renal angiomyolipoma

G. Cittadini, F. Pozzi Mucelli, F. M. Danza, L. E. Derchi, R. S. Pozzi Mucelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We describe the US and CT examinations of 4 patients with renal angiomyolipoma with an "aggressive" appearance, and review the literature. Material and Methods: The imaging findings in 4 patients with benign renal angiomyolipomas associated with thrombosis of the renal vein and/or inferior vena cava are presented. In one case, enlarged lymph nodes at the renal hilum were found. Results: CT demonstrated fat densities within both tumor and thrombus. In one patient, small lymph nodes with low density internal areas were detected in the para-aortic region. When considering our patients together with those reported in the literature, we found that most angiomyolipomas with venous invasion were large and centrally located within the kidney. Venous thrombosis was observed in 9 lesions of the right kidney, and in only 4 of the left one; detection of the site of origin was impossible in one case. One patient only had symptoms due to the thrombus; 10 had problems due to the tumor; and 3 were asymptomatic. Only 4 patients with pararenal enlarged lymph nodes have been reported on in the imaging literature. Fat-containing nodes were detected by CT in one case only; the others had enlarged nodes of soft-tissue density. In one patient the diagnosis of hamartomatous lymph node invasion was established by angiography. Conclusion: In patients with renal angiomyolipoma, demonstration of both fatty thrombus and the fatty infiltration of lymph nodes of the renal hilum cannot be regarded as an indication of malignancy, but only of local aggressive behavior. Although surgery is commonly contemplated to prevent symptoms from venous thrombosis, conservative treatment seems possible. Detection of enlarged lymph nodes of soft tissue density may cause difficult diagnostic problems, with the diagnosis addressed only by the presence of associated lesions. Increased awareness that renal angiomyolipoma can sometimes appear "aggressive" could help to prevent such lesions from being considered malignant, and thus avoid surgical confirmation of their nature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)927-932
Number of pages6
JournalActa Radiologica
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Kidney neoplasms, lipoma, lipomatosis
  • Lymphatic system
  • Venae cavae, thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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