• Satit Siriboonrid Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Waraporn Pongmorakot Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Chatwadee Limpaiboon Department of Radiology, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Nattapong Binsri Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sarayut Kanjanatarayon Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Weerayut Wiriyabanditkul Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Vittaya Jiraanankul Division of Urology, Department of Surgery, Phramongkutklao Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand
Keywords: renal cell carcinoma, attenuation, Hounsfield unit, kidney, cancer


Background: Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common kidney cancer in adults. Computed Tomography (CT) with contrast study is used to diagnose RCC. The enhancement in the nephrogenic phase more than 15 Hounsfield units (HU) is suspected of RCCs. However, this threshold HU shows 15-20% false positive results for RCCs.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine RCC enhancement in CT that was below the standard threshold and to analyze the attenuation range of RCCs in noncontrast CT. Methods: Patients with pathological RCC and undergoing CT with contrast study were retrospectively reviewed. An average of attenuation values of three regions of interest (ROI) were measured in noncontrast and nephrogenic phases, by avoiding foci of calcification and peritumoral region. ROI values were calculated for enhancement and range of attenuation values in the noncontrast CT.

Results: A total of 152 pathologically RCCs were included in the study. Mean ± SD attenuation values were 32.54 ± 8.02 HU (range 13.3-57.23 HU) and 71.26 ± 33.1 HU (range 16.87-202.8 HU) for noncontrast and contrast CT, respectively. Thirty-one (20.4%) of RCCs did not reach 15 HU enhancement. Using multivariate analysis, significant differences among subtypes (p<0.001) and renal mass less than 7 cm (p<0.001) were observed. In noncontrast CT, using a range of 20-60 HU, 129 (84.9%) RCCs were entirely within this range. To improve the accuracy of RCC diagnosis, the combined use of both non-contrast attenuation group (<20 HU and >20 HU) and enhancement >15 HU could increase the accuracy to 96.7%.

Conclusion: One-fifth of RCCs did not reach the standard enhancement threshold that were mostly found in nonclear cell subtype. Especially, when the mass was larger than 7 cm or involved nonclear cell RCCs, the enhancement threshold >15 HU must be carefully used for diagnosis. Using a noncontrast phase regardless HU combined with enhancement >15 HU could improve the accuracy of RCC diagnosis.


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How to Cite
Siriboonrid S, Pongmorakot W, Limpaiboon C, Binsri N, Kanjanatarayon S, Wiriyabanditkul W, Jiraanankul V. RADIOLOGIC CHARACTERISTICS OF COMPUTERIZED TOMOGRAPHY ATTENUATION IN RENAL CELL CARCINOMA. J Southeast Asian Med Res [Internet]. 2022Jun.28 [cited 2022Aug.9];60:e0117. Available from:
Original Articles