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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

Occult renal cell carcinoma manifesting with epistaxis in a woman: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Georgios Fyrmpas, Ade Adeniyi, Simon Baer
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-79) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

GF participated in the clinical care of the patient in the ENT Department, performed the literature review and wrote the report. AA participated in the clinical care of the patient in the Urology Department, examined the urology literature and contributed to the discussion section of this report. SB was the leading consultant in the care of this patient; additionally, he supervised and corrected this report. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Metastatic disease in the sinonasal region occurs rarely and the primary site may be elusive. This case highlights the possibility of an occult renal tumor manifesting with nasal symptoms and the risk of severe bleeding following nasal biopsy.

Case presentation

We report the case of a 79-year-old Caucasian woman who presented with a six-week history of intermittent left-sided nosebleeds. She was fit, without previous surgery or anticoagulation. Nasal endoscopy and computed tomography showed a hemorrhagic mass occupying her left ethmoid cells and middle meatus. After a highly hemorrhagic biopsy, the lesion was histologically confirmed as clear cell carcinoma. Screening revealed a right kidney mass with widespread metastases. Palliative radiotherapy to the sinonasal metastasis and systemic treatment rendered her free of symptoms nine months after initial presentation.


General practitioners and ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctors are very often confronted with epistaxis. A small minority of patients with epistaxis show a primary or metastatic nasal mass. Detection of the origin of secondary sinonasal masses requires a high index of suspicion and examination of infraclavicular sites by a multidisciplinary team. Renal cell carcinoma metastases are prone to severe bleeding during any surgical intervention, therefore, preoperative embolization is recommended. Resection or radiotherapy to the sinonasal metastasis of renal origin is justified in order to prevent recurrent nosebleeds.

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