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01.12.2014 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2014 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2014

Clear cell urothelial carcinoma of the urinary bladder: a case report and review of the literature

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2014
Virginia M Knez, Willis Barrow, M Scott Lucia, Shandra Wilson, Francisco G La Rosa
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-8-275) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

VMK and FGLR were the major contributors in writing the manuscript. SW performed the surgical procedure. FGLR, MSL, and VMK performed the histological examination of the renal tumor, interpreted, and diagnosed the pathology findings. VMK and WBB prepared the tables. FGLR took the microscopic pictures and edited the figures. FGLR, MSL, and WBB reviewed the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The occurrence of clear cell tumors in the bladder is not uncommon. Clear cell dysplasia is well-described and characterized by focal replacement of transitional mucosa by cells with abundant clear cytoplasm, nuclear enlargement, and a granular chromatin pattern. Clear cells can also be seen in clear cell adenocarcinoma, which is rare, comprising 0.5% to 2.0% of the reported bladder carcinomas. Other clear cell tumors found in the bladder to be considered in the differential diagnosis are tumors of Müllerian origin and metastatic lesions, such as renal cell carcinoma, clear cell sarcoma, and malignant melanoma. Clear cell urothelial carcinoma is exceedingly rare, with only nine clinical cases described in the literature.

Case presentation

We report the case of a 75-year-old Caucasian man who presented with intermittent hematuria, in whom a bladder tumor was identified. A final histopathology examination of a cystoprostatectomy specimen revealed a pT3b, G3 urothelial carcinoma of clear cell type (>90% clear cells) and a prostatic adenocarcinoma of Gleason grade 3+3 (score=6). The bladder tumor consisted of sheets of malignant cells with severe nuclear atypia and abundant clear cytoplasm; no glandular or tubular structures were identified. Tumor cells were periodic acid-Schiff positive and negative after diastase treatment; additional mucicarmine and oil red O stains were negative. Immunohistochemical stains showed the tumor cells positive for cytokeratin 7 (CK7), p63 (>80% nuclei), p53 (about 30% nuclei), vimentin, E-cadherin, cluster of differentiation (CD10), and Ki-67 (>70% nuclei). Stains for cell adhesion molecule 5.2 (CAM 5.2), CD117, cytokeratin 20 (CK20), human melanoma black 45 (HMB-45), paired box protein (PAX 8), placental alkaline phosphatase (PLAP), prostate specific antigen (PSA), renal cell carcinoma (RCC), cancer antigen 25 (CA25), leukocyte common antigen (LC), S-100 protein, and uroplakin III were all negative.


The tumor marker profile was consistent with clear cell type carcinoma of urothelial origin. Within the differential diagnoses, we ruled out other possible tumor types such as urothelial carcinoma with focal clear cell differentiation, clear cell adenocarcinoma, Müllerian tumors, and metastatic disease.

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