What is the role of plain radiography in transitional cell carcinoma (TCC) imaging?

Updated: Mar 18, 2019
  • Author: Ali Nawaz Khan, MBBS, FRCS, FRCP, FRCR; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Plain radiographs may first alert the radiologist to presence of a renal mass or a bladder mass. Occasionally, a large renal outline may be seen in a completely obstructed kidney. Uncommonly, radiographically discernible areas of punctate calcification may be seen in TCC. The calcification is on the surface of the tumor and not within the mass duct. Intrinsic calcifications suggest an adenocarcinoma or an unusual cell type.

TCC is associated with analgesic nephropathy. Plain radiographic findings of displacement of renal calcifications, which occur in analgesic nephropathy, may be the first sign of TCC. Surface calcification of a bladder tumor may be seen on plain radiographs in 1% of cases. Osseous expansive destruction or lung metastases may be seen in the presence of renal malignancy.

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