Kidney tumor
Renal pelvic tumors
Squamous cell carcinoma

Topic Completed: 1 July 2015

Revised: 5 March 2019

Copyright: 2003-2019,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Squamous cell carcinoma [title] kidney

Nicole K. Andeen, M.D.
Maria Tretiakova, M.D., Ph.D.
Page views in 2018: 1,058
Page views in 2019 to date: 656
Cite this page: Andeen NK, Tretiakova M. Squamous cell carcinoma. website. Accessed July 19th, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Pure squamous cell carcinoma, with no evidence of urothelial differentiation (invasive or in situ) and not combined with another renal neoplasm
  • Cases with associated urothelial carcinoma or urothelial carcinoma in situ are best classified as urothelial carcinoma with squamous differentiation
  • Very rare tumor, except for patients with nonfunctioning hydronephrotic kidney due to renal pelvic stone disease (Mol Clin Oncol 2015;3:941)
  • Approximately equal men and women, age 50 - 70 years (J Urol 2007;178:51)
  • Hypothesized to originate from squamous metaplasia in response to chronic irritation due to recurrent urinary tract infections, vesicoureteral reflux, longstanding renal calculi, smoking, schistosomiasis or chemical exposure (J Urol 2010;183:2023, Case Reports Pathol 2014:256813)
  • However, some cases reported without these associations
Clinical features
  • Hematuria, abdominal pain
  • May produce paraneoplastic syndrome with hypercalcemia, similar to squamous carcinoma of lung (Urology 2014;84:8)
Prognostic factors
Case reports
Clinical images

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Coronal and axial ultrasound

Computed tomography

Solitary mass lower right kidney

Mass in right renal pelvis

Gross description
  • Large, solid and necrotic tumor
Gross images

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Dilated renal calyces due to reflux

Solid, tanish white with central necrosis

Associated with kidney stones

Left renal pelvic tumor

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Demonstrates features of squamous carcinomas seen at other sites: intracellular bridges, keratin pearls, keratinaceous cellular debris
Microscopic (histologic) images

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Low power

Entrapped glomeruli

No urothelial differentiation


Entrapped renal tubules

Keratin pearl formation

Poorly differentiated

SCC with keratin pearls

Resected renal pelvic tumor

CK5 / 6, p53, CK7

Electron microscopy description
  • Similar to other squamous cell carcinoma
Electron microscopy images

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Many desmosomes
and cytoplasmic

Differential diagnosis
Additional references
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