Prospective performance of clear cell likelihood scores (ccLS) in renal masses evaluated with multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging

Ryan L. Steinberg, Robert G. Rasmussen, Brett A. Johnson, Rashed Ghandour, Alberto Diaz De Leon III, Yin Xi, Takeshi Yokoo, Sandy Kim, Payal Kapur, Jeffrey A. Cadeddu, Ivan Pedrosa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objectives: Solid renal masses have unknown malignant potential with commonly utilized imaging. Biopsy can offer a diagnosis of cancer but has a high non-diagnostic rate and complications. Reported use of multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging (mpMRI) to diagnose aggressive histology (i.e., clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC)) via a clear cell likelihood score (ccLS) was based on retrospective review of cT1a tumors. We aim to retrospectively assess the diagnostic performance of ccLS prospectively assigned to renal masses of all stages evaluated with mpMRI prior to histopathologic evaluation. Methods: In this retrospective cohort study from June 2016 to November 2019, 434 patients with 454 renal masses from 2 institutions with heterogenous patient populations underwent mpMRI with prospective ccLS assignment and had pathologic diagnosis. ccLS performance was assessed by contingency table analysis. The association between ccLS and ccRCC was assessed with logistic regression. Results: Mean age and tumor size were 60 ± 13 years and 5.4 ± 3.8 cm. Characteristics were similar between institutions except for patient age and race (both p < 0.001) and lesion laterality and histology (both p = 0.04). The PPV of ccLS increased with each increment in ccLS (ccLS1 5% [3/55], ccLS2 6% [3/47], ccLS3 35% [20/57], ccLS4 78% [85/109], ccLS5 93% [173/186]). Pooled analysis for ccRCC diagnosis revealed sensitivity 91% (258/284), PPV 87% (258/295) for ccLS ≥ 4, and specificity 56% (96/170), NPV 94% (96/102) for ccLS ≤ 2. Diagnostic performance was similar between institutions. Conclusions: We confirm the optimal diagnostic performance of mpMRI to identify ccRCC in all clinical stages. High PPV and NPV of ccLS can help inform clinical management decision-making. Key Points: • The positive predictive value of the clear cell likelihood score (ccLS) for detecting clear cell renal cell carcinoma was 5% (ccLS1), 6% (ccLS2), 35% (ccLS3), 78% (ccLS4), and 93% (ccLS5). Sensitivity of ccLS ≥ 4 and specificity of ccLS ≤ 2 were 91% and 56%, respectively. • When controlling for confounding variables, ccLS is an independent risk factor for identifying clear cell renal cell carcinoma. • Utilization of the ccLS can help guide clinical care, including the decision for renal mass biopsy, reducing the morbidity and risk to patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • Carcinoma
  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Kidney neoplasms
  • Multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging
  • Renal cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


Dive into the research topics of 'Prospective performance of clear cell likelihood scores (ccLS) in renal masses evaluated with multiparametric magnetic resonance imaging'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this