Remarkable shrinkage of sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma with single-agent gemcitabine

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A 60-year-old Japanese man presented to our hospital with a painful left hip. Computed tomography showed a tumor in the left kidney and metastases in the left gluteus maximus muscle and lung. The pathological diagnosis of a biopsy specimen obtained from a metastatic lesion in the left gluteus maximus muscle was sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma. On admission, his general condition was extremely poor. He was confined to bed because of severe left hip pain and confusion, possibly caused by hypercalcemia. This seriously ill patient suffering from advanced sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma was treated with single-agent gemcitabine, resulting in symptom relief and a dramatic improvement in his status; all of the tumors had regressed significantly by the 11th dose of gemcitabine. These findings indicate that single-agent gemcitabine is one of the few chemotherapeutic agents effective for palliation in patients with sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma, even those with poor performance status.

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