Endolymphatic sac tumors (ELSTs) are rare, slowly growing temporal bone neoplasms which show a high association with von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) syndrome. The immunohistochemistry evaluation of these papillary-cystic neoplasms frequently raises the differential diagnosis with renal cell carcinoma, among other metastatic neoplasms, whether in VHL patients or not. A cohort of 26 patients with ELSTs were evaluated for histologic features, immunohistochemistry findings, and association with VHL. Standard immunohistochemistry evaluation was performed. Sixteen females and 10 males ranging in age from 10 to 69 years (mean 44; VHL mean: 32) at initial presentation, comprised the cohort of patients. Most (86%) experienced hearing changes or inner ear symptoms (vertigo, dizziness), with an average duration of symptoms for 39 months (range 2–240 months). The tumors were an average of 2.9 cm (range 0.4–8 cm), with 14 left, 11 right sided and one bilateral tumor. Nine patients had documented VHL, with 3 patients having a concurrent or subsequent clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Patients were followed an average of 6.2 years (available in 24 patients): 19 alive without disease, 7.5 years; 2 dead without disease, 1.2 years; and 3 alive with disease, 3.1 years. The neoplastic cells show the following immunohistochemistry findings: AE1/AE3, EMA, CK7, CAIX, GLUT1, VEGF: 100% of cases tested were positive; pax-8: 85% of cases positive; CD10 and RCC: 0% of cases reactive. Based on this cohort of 26 patients with ELST, 9 of whom had VHL, the strong pax-8 and CAIX should be used in conjunction with negative CD10 and RCC to help exclude a metastatic renal cell carcinoma. As CAIX is an enzyme overexpressed in hypoxia and hypoxia inducible factor is what VHL protein regulates, this is an expected, although previously unreported finding. Whether part of VHL or not, VHL mutations may be a somatic rather than germline finding in the tumors, a possible further explanation for the CAIX reaction.