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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 117-118

Renal cell carcinoma presenting with oral tongue metastasis: A rare case presentation

Department of Radiotherapy, NRS Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal, India

Date of Web Publication10-Apr-2013

Correspondence Address:
Amitabh Ray
Department of Radiotherapy, NRS Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1482.110392

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 > Abstract 

Renal cell carcinoma is the most frequent kidney neoplasm, with a high tendency to metastasize. The occurrence of renal carcinoma metastasis to the head and neck region is extremely rare. Here we present one such case where the tongue metastasis was the initial presenting feature of disease.

Keywords: Metastatic renal cell carcinoma, Tongue metastasis, Atypical metastatic site

How to cite this article:
Ray A, Bhattacharya J, Ganguly S. Renal cell carcinoma presenting with oral tongue metastasis: A rare case presentation. J Can Res Ther 2013;9:117-8

How to cite this URL:
Ray A, Bhattacharya J, Ganguly S. Renal cell carcinoma presenting with oral tongue metastasis: A rare case presentation. J Can Res Ther [serial online] 2013 [cited 2020 Sep 22];9:117-8. Available from: http://www.cancerjournal.net/text.asp?2013/9/1/117/110392

 > Introduction Top

The incidence of RCCs has been rising steadily over the last few years. [1] The lack of benefit from adjuvant treatment has made surgery the corner stone of treatment for this disease. Indeed, the advent of biologics like sunitinib, sorafenib, temserolimus, everolimus, pazopanib and bevacizumab has marginally improved the bleak prognosis of metastatic disease, but the cost of therapy remains prohibitive. Newer areas of interest include the impact of modern radiation oncology techniques and biologics in the adjuvant setting for high risk RCCs.

The usual presentation of RCC is hematuria with or without obvious flank mass. The gamut of paraneoplastic syndromes associated range from polycythemia to non metastatic hepatic dysfunction. The usual presentation of metastatic disease is with lung, liver, soft tissue and bone and brain metastases. The incidence of metastasis to other sites is relatively rare. Here we present a rare case of RCC with metastasis to anterior tongue.

 > Case Report Top

Mr. RNS, a 65 year old male presented with growth in anterior tongue of about 2 months duration [Figure 1]. He also gave a 4 month history of reddish discoloration of urine. On examination, he was noted to have a 3 × 2 cm solitary pedunculated lesion on the right side of the anterior two-thirds of his tongue crossing the midline. His tongue mobility was normal and there was no palpable cervical lymphadenopathy.
Figure 1: Polypoid lesion in anterior tongue

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Systematic examination of chest revealed decreased air entry bilaterally without any adventitious sounds. Abdominal examination was normal.

He was advised biopsy from tongue growth along with standard metastatic workup for head and neck carcinoma. The associated finding of reddish discoloration of urine was investigated with routine examination of urine with culture sensitivity testing to exclude infection. Excision of growth in anterior tongue revealed a 2.6 cm tumor composed of sheets and nests of clear cells with centrally placed round or oval nuclei. The overall impression was suggestive of a hyper nephroid tumor reminiscent of renal cell carcinoma. Urine analysis revealed hematuria without any evidence of infection. In view of this a contrast enhanced CT scan of abdomen with guided FNAC was suggested. The chest x ray done as a part of routine metastatic workup showed discrete nodular opacities at both lungs suggestive of secondary deposits. CECT abdomen demonstrated 7.3 × 7.86 cm heterogeneously enhancing mass with undulated margin at upper pole of right kidney with calyceal distortion and perinephric fat stranding, multiple para-aortic lymphadenopathy, right renal vein and inferior vena cave involvement and invasion into right psoas muscle and right dome of diaphragm [Figure 2]. FNAC from right renal mass was suggestive of renal cell carcinoma.
Figure 2: CT scan of abdomen showing right renal mass

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Mr. RNS was evaluated for right sided cytoreductive nephrectomy for which urosurgery consultation was sought. The general condition of patient precluded such an approach. He did not complain of pain or bleeding from the tongue pathology and hence, palliative local treatment in the form of radiotherapy was withheld. He has been started of Sunitinib 50 mg OD on a 4 week on and 2 week off schedule.

 > Discussion Top

Metastasis of cancer to the mouth cavity, and particularly to the tongue, is extremely rare. In a review of 6881 cancers, 0.2% incidence of lingual metastasis was observed by Zegarelli. [2] The rarity of lingual metastasis is possibly explained in terms of the inhospitable nature of the site. The tongue is subject to mechanical, chemical and thermal variation, all of which function to inhibit colonization. Further, it is now recognized that skeletal muscle secretes several factors that have anti-cancer activity including TNF-α, TGF-β, lymphocyte infiltrating factor, interferon, lactic acid, proteolytic enzymes and adenosine receptor agonists. [3],[4] Cancers which are commonly known to metastasize to the tongue include Kidney (28%), Lung (28%) Skin melanoma (11%) and Breast (9%). [5]

About 30% of patients with RCCs present with metastatic disease. [6] 75% of these patients have metastases to the lung, 36% to soft tissues, 20% to bone, 18% to liver, 8% to cutaneous sites, and 8% to the central nervous system. [7] Approximately 15% of renal cell carcinomas metastasize to the head and neck region - specifically, to the paranasal sinuses, larynx, jaws, temporal bones, thyroid gland, and parotid glands. [8],[9]

An exhaustive literature review on tongue metastasis as a presenting feature of renal cell carcinoma was done recently by Azam et al. [10] They were able to identify 28 such cases in a period from 1911 to 2008. Out of these, only 3 cases presented initially with tongue metastases before the diagnosis of primary renal cell carcinoma. The case being presented here constitutes the fourth such case reported in the literature.

Management of metastatic RCC (mRCC) is one of the exciting new areas of research with a host of molecules now available for therapy. As per literature patients with a good performance status and only one site of metastasis are considered candidates for immunotherapy. This represents fewer than 5% of the population of mRCC patients. All other patients are considered candidates for anti-angiogenics based on the results of phase III trials, with sunitinib considered standard treatment as was used in this case, and bevacizumab plus IFN-α being an option. [11]

The importance of eliciting proper history and evaluation of all presenting symptoms and signs is very well demonstrated in this case. The rarity of secondary tongue cancers requires a very high index of suspicion for diagnosis. However, systematic approach usually reveals the primary site in a majority of cases.

 > References Top

1.Chow WH, Devesa SS, Warren JL, Fraumeni JF Jr. Rising incidence of renal cell cancer in the United States. J Am Med Assoc 1999;281:1628.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Zegarelli DJ, Tsukada Y, Pickren JW, Greene GW Jr. Metastatic tumor to the tongue: Report of 12 cases. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol 1973;35:202-11.  Back to cited text no. 2
3.Bar-Yehuda S, Barer F, Volfsson L, Fishman P. Resistance of muscle to tumor metastases: A role for a3 adenosine receptor agonists. Neoplasia 2001;3:125-31.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Sarma DP, Weilbaecher TG, Love GL. Intramyofiber metastasis in skeletal muscle. J Surg Oncol 1985;30:103-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
5.HassonaY, Hughes C, Prime S. Metastatic tumors of the tongue. Oral Oncol 2011;47:308-11.  Back to cited text no. 5
6.Golimbu M, Joshi P, Sperber A, Tessler A, Al-Askari S, Morales P. Renal cell carcinoma: Survival and prognostic factors. Urology 1986;27:291.  Back to cited text no. 6
7.Maldazys JD, deKernion JB. Prognostic factors in metastatic renal carcinoma. J Urol 1986;136:376.  Back to cited text no. 7
8.Som PM, Norton KI, Shugar JM, Reede DL, Norton L, Biller HF, et al. Metastatic hypernephroma to the head and neck. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 1987;8:1103-6.  Back to cited text no. 8
9.Boles R, Cemy J. Head and neck metastases from renal carcinomas. Mich Med 1971;70:616-8.  Back to cited text no. 9
10.Azam F, Abubakerr M, Gollins S. Tongue metastasis as an initial presentation of renal cell carcinoma: A case report and literature review. J Med Case Rep 2008;2:249.  Back to cited text no. 10
11.Ravaud A, Wallerand H, Culine S, Bernhard JC, Fergelot P, Bensalah K, et al. Update on the medical treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Eur Urol 2008;54:315-25.  Back to cited text no. 11


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


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