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01.12.2011 | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2011 Open Access

Journal of Medical Case Reports 1/2011

'Prechronous' metastasis in clear cell renal cell carcinoma: a case report

Journal of Medical Case Reports > Ausgabe 1/2011
Eileen Poon, Sin Jen Ong, Xue En Chuang, Wan Teck Lim, Nor Azhari Mohd Zam, Tsung Wen Chong, Issam Al Jajeh, Kent Mancer, Min-Han Tan
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​1752-1947-5-181) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors' contributions

NAMZ, WTL, CTW and TMH were involved in the clinical care of our patient; IAJ and KM performed the histological examinations. EP, OSJ, CXE and TMH were major contributors to the manuscript writing. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Although metastatic carcinoma in the presence of an occult primary tumor is well recognized, underlying reasons for the failure of the primary tumor to manifest are uncertain. Explanations for this phenomenon have ranged from spontaneous regression of the primary tumor to early metastasis of the primary tumor before manifestation of a less aggressive primary tumor. We report a case of 'prechronous' metastasis arising from clear cell renal cell carcinoma, where metastatic disease initially manifested in the absence of a primary renal tumor, followed by aggressive growth of the primary renal lesion.

Case presentation

A 43-year-old Malay man initially presented to our facility with fever and cough. He subsequently underwent surgical resection of a 9 cm right-sided lung mass found on radiological examination. Histology showed a high-grade clear cell tumor with sarcomatoid differentiation, suggestive of a metastasis from clear cell renal cell carcinoma. However, no concurrent renal lesions were noted on computed tomographic evaluation at that time. Then, four months after lung resection, he presented with a subcutaneous mass in the left loin, as well as right loin discomfort. Computed tomography scanning revealed a 10 cm right renal mass, with renal vein and inferior vena cava invasion, as well as recurrent disease in the right thorax. Histological examination of the excised subcutaneous mass revealed a high-grade carcinoma consistent with clear cell renal cell carcinoma.


This is the first reported case of prechronous metastasis of renal cell carcinoma, with metastatic disease manifesting prior to the development of the primary lesion. The underlying mechanism is uncertain, but our patient's case provides anecdotal support for the early dissemination model of metastasis.

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