A Surgical Case of High-Grade Urothelial Carcinoma of the Renal Pelvis Complicated With Giant Hydronephrosis, Giving Rise to Diagnostic Difficulties on a Cytological Examination
Background: We report a surgical case of urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis, resulting in diagnostic difficulties on cytological examination.
Case presentation: A man in his late 70s underwent nephrectomy for giant hydronephrosis and renal cysts after nephrostomy and renal cyst puncture and drainage. On all cytological examinations performed before surgery, including nephrostomy urine, renal cyst fluid, catheterized bladder urine, and bladder washings, we were unable to make any conclusive diagnosis of malignancy. The pathological diagnosis of the surgical specimen concluded that this was a case of highgrade urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis with focal squamous differentiation (pT4). Liver and lung metastases were identified three months after surgery and the patient died two months later.
Conclusion: It was very difficult to make a conclusive diagnosis using cytological specimens because of the presence of a small number of atypical cells with severe degenerative changes. Since clinicians cannot predict the potential for malignancy on preoperative imaging findings, it is critical to consider the difficulties in clinically making a correct diagnosis of urothelial carcinoma of the upper urinary tract, especially in cases complicated with giant hydronephrosis.