Lymphangitic metastasis of recurrent renal cell carcinoma to the contralateral lung causing lymphangitic carcinomatosis and respiratory symptoms
Renal cell carcinoma comprises 80%-85% of kidney malignancies. For early presentations, nephrectomy provides a high cure rate, but patients usually present at advanced stages, leading to poor outcomes. Even for patients without metastatic spread who undergo nephrectomy, metastatic recurrence is frequent. We report the case of a patient who underwent nephrectomy for stage III renal cell carcinoma and who presented 20 months later with respiratory symptoms consistent with pneumonia, influenza, or (less likely) congestive heart failure or a cardiac event. Persistent right pleural effusion on serial chest radiographs despite treatment prompted computed tomography evaluation, which revealed lymphangitic carcinomatosis, a very rare form of renal cell carcinoma metastasis to the lung. This preliminary finding was confirmed by right middle lobe tissue biopsy through bronchoscopy and cytopathology examination.