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1.  Hepatocyte growth factor-stimulated renal tubular mitogenesis: effects on expression of c-myc, c-fos, c-met, VEGF and the VHL tumour-suppressor and related genes. 
British Journal of Cancer  1998;77(9):1420-1428.
Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF/SF) is a potent renal proximal tubular cell (PTEC) mitogen involved in renal development. HGF/SF is the functional ligand for the c-met proto-oncogene, and germline c-met mutations are associated with familial papillary renal cell carcinoma. Somatic von Hippel-Lindau disease tumour-suppressor gene (VHL) mutations are frequently detected in sporadic clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCC), and germline VHL mutations are the commonest cause of familial clear cell RCC. pVHL binds to the positive regulatory components of the trimeric elongin (SIII) complex (elongins B and C) and has been observed to deregulate expression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) gene. HGF/SF has similarly been reported to up-regulate expression of the VEGF gene in non-renal experimental systems. To investigate the mechanism of HGF/SF action in PTECs and, specifically, to examine potential interactions between the HGF/c-met and the VHL-mediated pathways for renal tubular growth control, we have isolated untransformed PTECs from normal kidneys, developed conditions for their culture in vitro and used these cells to investigate changes in mRNA levels of the VHL, elongin A, B and C, VEGF, c-myc, c-fos and c-met genes after HGF/SF exposure. Significant elevations in the mRNA levels of VEGF, c-myc, c-fos, c-met and elongins A, B and C, but not VHL, were detected after HGF/SF stimulation of human PTECs (P < 0.02), with a consistent order of peak levels observed over successive replicates (c-fos at 1 h, VEGF at 2-4 h, c-myc, at 4 h, followed by c-met and all three elongin subunits at 8 h). This study highlights the spectrum of changes in gene expression observed in PTECs after HGF/SF stimulation and has identified possible candidate mediators of the HGF/SF-induced mitogenic response. Our evidence would suggest that the changes in PTEC VEGF expression induced by HGF/SF are mediated by a VHL-independent pathway.
PMCID: PMC2150185  PMID: 9652757
2.  Claudin-7 is Highly Expressed in Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma and Renal Oncocytoma 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2007;22(2):305-310.
Claudin-7 has recently been suggested to be a distal nephron marker. We tested the possibility that expression of claudin-7 could be used as a marker of renal tumors originating from the distal nephron. We examined the immunohistochemical expression of claudin-7 and parvalbumin in 239 renal tumors, including 179 clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC)s, 29 papillary RCCs, 20 chromophobe RCCs, and 11 renal oncocytomas. In addition, the methylation specific-PCR (MSP) of claudin-7 was performed. Claudin-7 and parvalbumin immunostains were positive in 3.4%, 7.8% of clear cell RCCs, 34.5%, 31.0% of papillary RCCs, 95.0%, 80.0% of chromophobe RCCs, and 72.7%, 81.8% of renal oncocytomas, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of claudin-7 in diagnosing chromophobe RCC among subtypes of RCC were 95.0% and 92.3%. Those of parvalbumin were 80.0% and 88.9%. The expression pattern of claudin-7 was mostly diffuse in chromophobe RCC and was either focal or diffuse in oncocytoma. All of the cases examined in the MSP revealed the presence of unmethylated promoter of claudin-7 without regard to claudin-7 immunoreactivity. Hypermethylation of the promoter might not be the underlying mechanism for loss of its expression in RCC. Claudin-7 can be used as a useful diagnostic marker in diagnosing chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma.
PMCID: PMC2693599  PMID: 17449941
Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma; Oncocytoma; Claudin-7
3.  Expression of parafibromin in major renal cell tumors 
Parafibromin, encoded by HRPT2 gene, is a recently identified tumor suppressor. Complete and partial loss of its expression have been observed in hyperparathyroidism-jaw tumor (HPT-JT), parathyroid carcinoma, breast carcinoma, lung carcinoma, gastric and colorectal carcinoma. However, little has been known about its expression in renal tumors. In order to study the expression of parafibromin in a series of the 4 major renal cell tumors - clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC), papillary renal cell carcinoma (pRCC), chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (chRCC) and oncocytoma, one hundred thirty nine renal tumors including 61 ccRCCs, 37 pRCCs, 22 chRCCs and 19 oncocytomas were retrieved and used for the construction of renal tissue microarrays (TMAs). The expression of parafibromin was detected by immunohistochemical method on the constructed TMAs. Positive parafibromin stains are seen in 4 out of 61 ccRCCs (7%), 7 out of 37 pRCCs (19%), 12 out of 23 chRCCs (52%) and all 19 oncocytomas (100%). Parafibromin expression varies significantly (P<8.8×10−16) among the four major renal cell tumors and were correlated closely with tumor types. No correlation of parafibromin expression with tumor staging in ccRCCs, pRCCs and chRCCs, and Fuhrman nuclear grading in ccRCCs and pRCCs was seen. In summary, parafibromin expression was strongly correlated with tumor types, which may suggest that it plays a role in the tumorigenesis in renal cell tumors.
PMCID: PMC3567758  PMID: 23361235
parafibromin; renal epithelial tumors.
4.  High Endogenous Avidin Binding Activity: An Inexpensive and Readily Available Marker for the Differential Diagnosis of Kidney Neoplasms 
It has been documented that some tissues, such as salivary gland, liver, cardiac and skeletal muscles and kidney, have high level endogenous biotin or endogenous avidin binding activity (EABA). Limited data is available on EABA in renal cell neoplasms. A tissue microarray (TMA) was constructed that included oncocytoma (n=30), chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (RCC) (n=18), clear cell RCC (n=45), clear cell RCC with granular/eosinophilic (G/E) features (n=19), papillary RCC (n=21), papillary RCC with G/E features (n=29) and benign renal tissues (n=31). The TMA slides were stained with or without biotin blocker and analyzed using the automated cellular imaging system (ACIS®). Without biotin blocker, a high positive rate of EABA was found in oncocytoma (56/60, 93%) and normal renal tubules (46/60, 77%). A moderate positive rate of EABA was found in clear cell and papillary RCCs with G/E features (13/39, 33% and 19/55, 35%, respectively). Chromophobe RCC and RCC without G/E features had essentially no EABA. With biotin blocker, benign renal tissue and clear cell RCC were negative for EABA; but a significant number of renal oncocytoma (29/60, 48%) and a few papillary RCC with G/E features (5/52, 10%) remained positive for EABA. In conclusion, high EABA may be used to differentiate oncocytoma from chromophobe RCC, and the staining results must be interpreted with caution when avidin-biotin detection system is used in diagnosing renal neoplasms.
PMCID: PMC2480577  PMID: 18787626
Oncocytoma; endogenous avidin binding activity (EABA); chromophobe renal cell carcinoma
5.  Renal cell carcinoma: Evolving and emerging subtypes 
Our knowledge of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is rapidly expanding. For those who diagnose and treat RCC, it is important to understand the new developments. In recent years, many new renal tumors have been described and defined, and our understanding of the biology and clinical correlates of these tumors is changing. Evolving concepts in Xp11 translocation carcinoma, mucinous tubular and spindle cell carcinoma, multilocular cystic clear cell RCC, and carcinoma associated with neuroblastoma are addressed within this review. Tubulocystic carcinoma, thyroid-like follicular carcinoma of kidney, acquired cystic disease-associated RCC, and clear cell papillary RCC are also described. Finally, candidate entities, including RCC with t(6;11) translocation, hybrid oncocytoma/chromophobe RCC, hereditary leiomyomatosis and RCC syndrome, and renal angiomyoadenomatous tumor are reviewed. Knowledge of these new entities is important for diagnosis, treatment and subsequent prognosis. This review provides a targeted summary of new developments in RCC.
PMCID: PMC3868710  PMID: 24364021
Renal cell carcinoma; Subtypes; Xp11 translocation; Mucinous tubular and spindle cell; Multilocular cystic clear cell; Carcinoma associated with neuroblastoma recently described entities; Clear cell papillary renal cell carcinoma; Acquired cystic kidney disease; Hereditary leiomyomatosis; Candidate entities; Renal cell carcinoma with t(6; 11) translocation
6.  New Insights into the Biology of Renal Cell Carcinoma 
Kidney cancer is one of the 10 most common forms of cancer in both men and women. Ninety percent or more of these cancers are believed to be of epithelial cell origin, and are referred to as renal cell carcinoma (RCC). RCCs can be further subdivided, based on their histologic appearance, into clear-cell renal carcinomas (~75%), papillary renal carcinomas (15%), chromophobe tumors (5%), and oncocytomas (5%).1,2 Studies of hereditary kidney cancer families led to the identification of genes that, when mutated in the germline, confer an increased risk of these various histologic RCC subtypes and hence a glimpse at the molecular circuits that are deregulated in these different forms of RCC.2 In practice, there is some overlap among the histologic subtypes (eg, a tumor with predominantly clear-cell features might contain areas more typical of papillary RCC). Similarly, there are some shared molecular features among these tumor types (see later discussion). This review focuses primarily on the most common form of RCC, clear-cell renal carcinoma, while making note of some recent advances in the other histologic subtypes.
PMCID: PMC3161447  PMID: 21763962
Renal cell carcinoma; Clear-cell renal carcinoma; Hypoxia-inducible factor; HIF-responsive gene products
7.  Distinct Cytoplasmic Expression of KL-6 Mucin in Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Comparative Immunohistochemical Study with Other Renal Epithelial Cell Tumors 
Acta Histochemica et Cytochemica  2012;45(5):301-308.
The presence of cytoplasmic sialyl glycoproteins is a conspicuous feature in chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We compared the immunohistochemical expression of sialyl glycoproteins in chromophobe RCC with that in other types of renal tumors. Formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues of surgically resected renal tumors (chromophobe RCC, 14 cases [10 cases of classic type and 4 cases of eosinophilic variant]; oncocytoma, 7 cases; and clear cell RCC, 9 cases) and kidneys from immature infants (4 cases) were immunostained with antibodies against sialyl glycoproteins (anti-KL-6 and anti-sialyl MUC1 antibodies). Cytoplasmic expression of KL-6 and sialyl MUC1 was distinctive in the chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytoma cells, and in the intercalated cells in collecting duct epithelia. Apical-surface staining of these sialyl glycoproteins was predominantly observed in clear RCC, in the epithelia of the distal tubule and collecting duct, and in the neonatal renal proximal tubule, but not in those of the adult renal proximal tubule. The above-mentioned observations provide additional evidence for similar phenotypic profiles of chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytoma, and the intercalated cells in collecting ducts and the oncofetal expression of sialyl glycoproteins in clear cell RCC. KL-6 is a potential tumor marker for renal tumors.
PMCID: PMC3496866  PMID: 23209339
chromophobe renal cell carcinoma; immunohistochemistry; KL-6; MUC1; renal cell tumor
8.  Development of Pathological Diagnostics of Human Kidney Cancer by Multiple Staining Using New Fluorescent Fluolid Dyes 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:437871.
New fluorescent Fluolid dyes have advantages over others such as stability against heat, dryness, and excess light. Here, we performed simultaneous immunostaining of renal tumors, clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), papillary RCC, chromophobe RCC, acquired cystic disease-associated RCC (ACD-RCC), and renal angiomyolipoma (AML), with primary antibodies against Kank1, cytokeratin 7 (CK7), and CD10, which were detected with secondary antibodies labeled with Fluolid-Orange, Fluolid-Green, and Alexa Fluor 647, respectively. Kank1 was stained in normal renal tubules, papillary RCC, and ACD-RCC, and weakly or negatively in all other tumors. CK7 was positive in normal renal tubules, papillary RCC, and ACD-RCC. In contrast, CD10 was expressed in renal tubules and clear cell RCC, papillary RCC, AML, and AC-RCC, and weakly in chromophobe RCC. These results may contribute to differentiating renal tumors and subtypes of RCCs. We also examined the stability of fluorescence and found that fluorescent images of Fluolid dyes were identical between a tissue section and the same section after it was stored for almost three years at room temperature. This indicates that tissue sections can be stored at room temperature for a relatively long time after they are stained with multiple fluorescent markers, which could open a door for pathological diagnostics.
PMCID: PMC4065777  PMID: 24995295
9.  Diagnostic Utility of Caveolin-1 and MOC-31 in Distinguishing Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma from Renal Oncocytoma 
Korean Journal of Urology  2011;52(2):96-103.
Renal tumors consist of heterogeneous groups that frequently show complex and overlapping morphology, thus making it difficult to make a correct diagnosis. One of the most problematic differential diagnoses is to distinguish chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (RCC) from oncocytoma. These should be distinguished by differences in their behavior and clinical outcome. Our study was performed to identify whether caveolin-1 and MOC-31 are useful immunohistochemical markers for differentiating chromophobe RCC from oncocytoma.
Materials and Methods
We selected 23 chromophobe RCCs, 8 oncocytomas, and 25 clear cell RCCs and performed immunohistochemical staining for caveolin-1 and MOC-31.
Caveolin-1 was positive in 20 (87%) of 23 chromophobe RCCs, 0 of 8 oncocytomas, and 21 (84%) of 25 clear cell RCCs. MOC-31 was positive in 22 (96%) of 23 chromophobe RCCs, 2 (25%) of 8 oncocytomas, and 14 (56%) of 25 clear cell RCCs. There was a statistically significant difference in the expression of caveolin-1 and MOC-31 between chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma (p<0.001). In addition, clear cell RCC was also significantly different from oncocytoma in the expression of caveolin-1 (p<0.001) and was significantly different from chromophobe RCC in the expression of MOC-31 (p<0.001).
Caveolin-1 and MOC-31 can be useful markers in the differential diagnosis of chromophobe RCC, oncocytoma, and clear cell RCC.
PMCID: PMC3045726  PMID: 21379425
Adenoma, oxyphilic; Caveolin 1; MOC-31 monoclonal antibody, human; Renal cell carcinoma
10.  Genetic and epigenetic alterations during renal carcinogenesis 
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is not a single entity, but comprises a group of tumors including clear cell RCC, papillary RCC and chromophobe RCC, which arise from the epithelium of renal tubules. The majority of clear cell RCCs, the major histological subtype, have genetic or epigenetic inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene. Germline mutations in the MET and fumarate hydratase (FH) genes lead to the development of type 1 and type 2 papillary RCCs, respectively, and such mutations of either the TSC1 or TSC2 gene increase the risk of RCC. Genome-wide copy number alteration analysis has suggested that loss of chromosome 3p and gain of chromosomes 5q and 7 may be copy number aberrations indispensable for the development of clear cell RCC. When chromosome 1p, 4, 9, 13q or 14q is also lost, more clinicopathologically aggressive clear cell RCC may develop. Since renal carcinogenesis is associated with neither chronic inflammation nor persistent viral infection, and hardly any histological change is evident in corresponding non-tumorous renal tissue from patients with renal tumors, precancerous conditions in the kidney have been rarely described. However, regional DNA hypermethylation on C-type CpG islands has already accumulated in such non-cancerous renal tissues, suggesting that, from the viewpoint of altered DNA methylation, the presence of precancerous conditions can be recognized even in the kidney. Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles in precancerous conditions are basically inherited by the corresponding clear cell RCCs developing in individual patients: DNA methylation alterations at the precancerous stage may further predispose renal tissue to epigenetic and genetic alterations, generate more malignant cancers, and even determine patient outcome. The list of tumor-related genes silenced by DNA hypermethylation has recently been increasing. Genetic and epigenetic profiling provides an optimal means of prognostication for patients with RCCs. Recently developed high-throughput technologies for genetic and epigenetic analyses will further accelerate the identification of key molecules for use in the prevention, diagnosis and therapy of RCCs.
PMCID: PMC3016104  PMID: 21228928
Renal cell carcinoma; copy number alteration; DNA methylation; precancerous condition; prognostication
11.  Sub-typing of renal cell tumours; contribution of ancillary techniques 
Diagnostic Pathology  2009;4:21.
Adult renal epithelial neoplasms are a heterogeneous group with varying prognosis and outcome requiring sub-classification.
Cases of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) in a 10 years period were analyzed with regard to the clinical features and histology. Sections were reviewed by four pathologists and the discordant cases were resolved with the help of Hale's colloidal iron stain, vimentin, CK 7, and vinculin immunostains and electron microscopy.
Amongst the total of 278 cases, clear cell renal cell carcinoma was the commonest tumor with 74.8% cases, followed by papillary RCC 12.2%, chromophobe RCC 7.9%, oncocytoma 1.8%, and one case of collecting duct RCC. Eight cases were of sarcomatoid renal cell carcinoma. In 28/278 cases, diagnoses varied amongst the four pathologists and the discordance was resolved by Hale's colloidal iron stain, CK7 immunostain and electron microscopy. Vimentin and vinculin did not contribute much in differentiating subtypes of renal cell carcinomas. Relative incidence of sub-types of RCCs was compared with other series
To accurately subclassify renal cell carcinomas, simple ancillary techniques would possibly resolve all difficult cases. The relative incidence of sub-types of renal cell carcinoma is relatively consistent the world over. However, in India, RCCs afflict the patients two decades earlier.
PMCID: PMC2714064  PMID: 19558708
12.  Activation of Stat3 in renal tumors 
Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3) plays a vital role in signal transduction pathways that mediate transformation and inhibit apoptosis. Oncogenic Stat3 is persistently activated in several human cancers and transformed cell lines. Previous studies indicate activation of Stat3 in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, the detailed characterization of the Stat3 expression pattern in different histologic types of RCC is lacking. We have analyzed the immunoprofile of activated or phosphorylated Stat3 (pStat3) in a tissue microarray of renal tumors of different histologic types, including 42 cases of conventional clear cell type, 24 chromophobe, and 7 papillary, 15 oncocytoma, 7 urothelial carcinoma and 21 normal kidney tissues using an anti-pStat3 antibody (recognizes only activated STAT3). pStat3 nuclear staining was observed in 25 of 42 conventional clear cell RCC (59.5 %), 8 of 24 chromophobe RCC (33.3%), 4 of 7 papillary RCC (57.1%). In the other tumor groups, 4 of 15 oncocytomas (26.7%) and 6 of 7 urothelial carcinomas (85.7%) showed positive nuclear staining. Weak nuclear immunoreactivity for pStat3 was seen in 4 of 21 cases of non-neoplastic kidney tissue (19.0%). The extent of Stat3 activation as determined by nuclear expression of its phosphorylated form is increased in histologic types of renal tumors with greater malignant potential, specifically conventional clear cell RCC, papillary RCC and urothelial carcinoma, only slightly increased in chromophobe RCC, and not increased in oncocytoma. These results suggest a role of Stat3 activation in different types of renal neoplasia, possibly serving as a prognostic marker or therapeutic target.
PMCID: PMC2776322  PMID: 19956438
Signal Transducer and activator of transcription 3 (Stat3); signal transduction; phosphorylation; renal tumors; kidney cancers
13.  Papillary renal cell carcinoma within a renal oncocytoma: case report of an incidental finding of a tumour within a tumour 
Journal of Clinical Pathology  2007;60(4):426-428.
The most common renal tumours are clear cell, papillary, chromophobe and collecting duct renal cell carcinomas (RCCs), and benign oncocytomas and angiomyolipomas. Tumours with hybrid features between some of these entities have been recognised; in particular, tumours with features of both chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma. Case reports describing one distinct type of primary renal tumour actually within another are very rare. The incidental finding of a papillary RCC located in an oncocytoma in a nephrectomy specimen from a 75‐year‐old man is described. Morphological criteria for each tumour type were completely satisfied and fluorescence in situ hybridisation detected the expected number of copies of chromosome 7 in the cells of each tumour type. The cells in the papillary tumour contained three copies, whereas the oncocytoma cells contained only two per nucleus. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a papillary RCC being identified within an oncocytoma.
PMCID: PMC2001125  PMID: 17405978
14.  Histone modifications: implications in renal cell carcinoma 
Epigenomics  2013;5(4):10.2217/epi.13.40.
In 2012, an estimated 64,770 men and women were diagnosed with malignancy of the kidney and renal pelvis, of which 13,570 succumbed to their disease. Common genetic aberrations in renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) include loss of function of the VHL gene in clear-cell RCC, overexpression of the c-MET gene in papillary RCC type I, deficiency in the FH gene in papillary RCC type II and loss of heterozygozity of the BHD gene in chromophobe RCC. Recent studies illustrate epigenetic silencing of VHL, as well as alterations in histone modifications and their governing enzymes. The possibility of reversing these epigenetic marks has resulted in efforts to target these changes by utilizing inhibitors of HDACs, DNA methyltransferases and, recently, histone methyltransferases in preclinical and clinical studies. This article focuses on potential therapeutic interventions, and the implications of histone modifications and related enzyme alterations in RCC.
PMCID: PMC3872784  PMID: 23895657
DNA methyltransferase; epigenetics; HDAC; histone acetylation; histone methylation; renal cell carcinoma
15.  Familial clear cell renal cell carcinoma (FCRC): clinical features and mutation analysis of the VHL, MET, and CUL2 candidate genes 
Journal of Medical Genetics  2000;37(5):348-353.
Familial renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is genetically heterogeneous. Genetic predisposition to clear cell RCC (CCRCC) is a major feature of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) disease (MIM 193300) and has rarely been associated with chromosome 3 translocations. In addition, familial papillary (non-clear cell) RCC may result from germline mutations in the MET proto-oncogene (MIM 164860). However, rare kindreds with familial CCRCC (FCRC) not linked to the VHL tumour suppressor gene have been described suggesting that further familial RCC susceptibility genes exist. To investigate the genetic epidemiology of FCRC, we undertook a clinical and molecular study of FCRC in nine kindreds with two or more cases of CCRCC in first degree relatives. FCRC was characterised by an earlier age at onset (mean 47.1 years, 52% of cases <50 years of age) than sporadic cases. These findings differ from the only previous report of two FCRC kindreds and have important implications for renal surveillance in FCRC. The molecular basis of CCRCC susceptibility was investigated in nine FCRC kindreds and seven isolated cases with features of possible genetic susceptibility to CCRCC (four bilateral CCRCC aged <50 years and three with unilateral CCRCC aged <30 years). No germline mutations were detected in the VHL or MET genes, suggesting that FCRC is not allelic with VHL disease or HPRC. As binding of the VHL gene product to the CUL2 protein is important for pVHL function, we then searched for germline CUL2 mutations. Although CUL2 polymorphisms were identified, no pathogenic mutations were detected. These findings further define the clinical features of FCRC and exclude a major role for mutations in VHL, MET, or CUL2 in this disorder.

Keywords: familial clear cell renal carcinoma; VHL; MET; CUL2
PMCID: PMC1734586  PMID: 10807693
16.  c-Met is a prognostic marker and potential therapeutic target in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
Annals of Oncology  2012;24(2):343-349.
Activation of the c-Met pathway occurs in a range of malignancies, including papillary renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Its activity in clear cell RCC is less clear. We investigated c-Met expression and inhibition in a large cohort of RCC tumors and cell lines.
c-Met protein expression was determined by automated quantitative analysis (AQUA) on a tissue microarray (TMA) constructed from 330 RCC tumors paired with adjacent normal renal tissue. c-Met expression and selective inhibition with SU11274 and ARQ 197 were studied in clear cell RCC cell lines.
Higher c-Met expression was detected in all RCC subtypes than in the adjacent normal renal tissue (P < 0.0001). Expression was highest in papillary and sarcomatoid subtypes, and high-grade and stage tumors. Higher c-Met expression correlated with worse disease-specific survival [risk ratio = 1.36; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08–1.74; P = 0.0091] and was an independent predictor of survival, maintained in clear cell subset analyses. c-Met protein was activated in all cell lines, and proliferation (and colony formation) was blocked by SU11274 and ARQ 197.
c-Met is associated with poor pathologic features and prognosis in RCC. c-Met inhibition demonstrates in vitro activity against clear cell RCC. Further study of ARQ 197 with appropriate biomarker studies in RCC is warranted.
PMCID: PMC3551486  PMID: 23022995
c-Met; clear cell carcinoma; hepatocyte growth factor; renal cell carcinoma; tissue microarray
17.  DNA methylation profiling distinguishes histological subtypes of renal cell carcinoma 
Epigenetics  2013;8(3):252-267.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for around 3% of cancers in the UK, and both incidence and mortality are increasing with the aging population. RCC can be divided into several subtypes: conventional RCC (the most common, comprising 75% of all cases), papillary RCC (15%) and chromophobe RCC (5%). Renal oncocytoma is a benign tumor and accounts for 5% of RCC. Cancer and epigenetics are closely associated, with DNA hypermethylation being widely accepted as a feature of many cancers. In this study the DNA methylation profiles of chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytomas were investigated by utilizing the Infinium HumanMethylation450 BeadChips. Cancer-specific hypermethylation was identified in 9.4% and 5.2% of loci in chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytoma samples, respectively, while the majority of the genome was hypomethylated. Thirty (hypermethylated) and 41 (hypomethylated) genes were identified as differentially methylated between chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytomas (p < 0.05). Pathway analysis identified some of the differentially hypermethylated genes to be involved in Wnt (EN2), MAPK (CACNG7) and TGFβ (AMH) signaling, Hippo pathway (NPHP4), and cell death and apoptosis (SPG20, NKX6-2, PAX3 and BAG2). In addition, we analyzed ccRCC and papillary RCC data available from The Cancer Genome Atlas portal to identify differentially methylated loci in chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytoma in relation to the other histological subtypes, providing insight into the pathology of RCC subtypes and classification of renal tumors.
PMCID: PMC3669118  PMID: 23428843
renal cell carcinoma; renal oncocytoma; chromophobe renal cell carcinoma; hypermethylation; hypomethylation
18.  FXYD3: A Promising Biomarker for Urothelial Carcinoma 
Biomarker Insights  2011;6:17-26.
Urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the kidney is a relatively rare but aggressive form of kidney cancer. Differential diagnosis of renal UC from renal cell carcinoma (RCC) can be difficult, but is critical for correct patient management. We aimed to use global gene expression profiling to identify genes specifically expressed in urothelial carcinoma (UC) of the kidney, with purpose of finding new biomarkers for differential diagnosis of UC of both upper and lower tract from normal tissues.
Materials and methods:
Microarray gene expression profiling was performed on a variety of human kidney tumor samples, including clear cell, papillary, chromophobe, oncocytoma, renal UC and normal kidney controls. Differentially expressed mRNAs in various kidney tumor subtypes were thus identified. Protein expression in human UC tumor samples from both upper and lower urinary tract was evaluated by immunohistochemistry.
FXYD3 (MAT-8) mRNA was specifically expressed in UC of the kidney and not in normal kidney tissue or in any RCC tumor subtypes. FXYD3 mRNA levels displayed equal or better prediction rate for the detection of renal UC than the mRNA levels of selected known UC markers as p63, vimentin, S100P, KRT20 and KRT7. Finally, immunohistochemical staining of clinical UC samples showed that FXYD3 protein is overexpressed in majority of UC of the upper genitourinary tract (encompassing the kidney, ∼90%) and in majority of high grade bladder UC (∼84%, it’s <40% in low grade tumors, P < 0.001) compared to normal kidney and bladder tissues.
FXYD3 may be a promising novel biomarker for the differential diagnosis of renal UC and a promising prognosis marker of UC from bladder. Because it was identified genome-widely, FXYD3 may have important biological ramifications for the genetic study of UC.
PMCID: PMC3076016  PMID: 21499437
FXYD3; FXYD; urothelial carcinoma; kidney; marker; microarray
19.  Protein Expression Profiling in the Spectrum of Renal Cell Carcinomas 
Journal of Cancer  2010;1:184-196.
In this study, we aimed to evaluate the protein expression profile of a spectrum of renal cell carcinomas (RCC) to find potential biomarkers for disease onset and progression and therefore, prospective therapeutic targets. A 2D-gel based proteomic analysis was used to outline differences in protein levels among different subtypes of renal cell carcinomas, including clear cell carcinomas, papillary lesions, chromophobe tumors and renal oncocytomas. Spot pattern was compared to the corresponding normal kidney from the same patients and distinctive, differentially expressed proteins were characterized by mass spectrometry. Twenty-one protein spots were found differentially expressed between clear cell RCC and normal tissue and 38 spots were found expressed in chromophobe tumors. Eleven proteins were identified, with most differentially expressed -by fold change- between clear cell tumors and the corresponding normal tissue. Two of the identified proteins, Triosephosphate isomerase 1 (TPI-1) and Heat Shock protein 27 (Hsp27), were further validated in a separate set of tumors by immunohistochemistry and expression levels were correlated with clinicopathologic features of the patients. Hsp27 was highly expressed in 82% of the tumors used for validation, and all cases showed strong immunoreactivity for TPI-1. In both Hsp27 and TPI-1, protein expression positively correlated with histologic features of the disease. Our results suggest that the subjacent cytogenetic abnormalities seen in different histological types of RCC are followed by specific changes in protein expression. From these changes, Hsp27 and TPI-1 emerged as potential candidates for the differentiation and prognosis in RCC.
PMCID: PMC2962428  PMID: 20975849
Renal cell carcinoma; proteomics; protein profiling; biomarker; Hsp27; TPI-1
20.  Gene expression pattern of the epidermal growth factor receptor family and LRIG1 in renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Research Notes  2012;5:216.
Previous studies have revealed altered expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-family members and their endogenous inhibitor leucine-rich and immunoglobulin-like domains 1 (LRIG1) in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In this study, we analyzed the gene expression levels of EGFR-family members and LRIG1, and their possible associations with clinical parameters in various types of RCC.
Gene expression levels of EGFR–family members and LRIG1 were analyzed in 104 RCC samples, including 81 clear cell RCC (ccRCC), 15 papillary RCC (pRCC), and 7 chromophobe RCC (chRCC) by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Associations between gene expression levels and clinical data, including tumor grade, stage, and patient survival were statistically assessed.
Compared to kidney cortex, EGFR was up-regulated in ccRCC and pRCC, LRIG1 and ERBB2 were down-regulated in ccRCC, and ERBB4 was strongly down-regulated in all RCC types. ERBB3 expression did not differ between RCC types or between RCC and the kidney cortex. The expression of the analyzed genes did not correlate with patient outcome.
This study revealed that the previously described up-regulation of EGFR and down-regulation of ERBB4 occurred in all analyzed RCC types, whereas down-regulation of ERBB2 and LRIG1 was only present in ccRCC. These observations illustrate the need to evaluate the different RCC types individually when analyzing molecules of interest and potential biological markers.
PMCID: PMC3419632  PMID: 22554477
Renal cell carcinoma; EGFR; ERBB2; ERBB3; ERRB4; LRIG1; Survival
21.  Genomic expression and single-nucleotide polymorphism profiling discriminates chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and oncocytoma 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:196.
Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (chRCC) and renal oncocytoma are two distinct but closely related entities with strong morphologic and genetic similarities. While chRCC is a malignant tumor, oncocytoma is usually regarded as a benign entity. The overlapping characteristics are best explained by a common cellular origin, and the biologic differences between chRCC and oncocytoma are therefore of considerable interest in terms of carcinogenesis, diagnosis and clinical management. Previous studies have been relatively limited in terms of examining the differences between oncocytoma and chromophobe RCC.
Gene expression profiling using the Affymetrix HGU133Plus2 platform was applied on chRCC (n = 15) and oncocytoma specimens (n = 15). Supervised analysis was applied to identify a discriminatory gene signature, as well as differentially expressed genes. High throughput single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping was performed on independent samples (n = 14) using Affymetrix GeneChip Mapping 100 K arrays to assess correlation between expression and gene copy number. Immunohistochemical validation was performed in an independent set of tumors.
A novel 14 probe-set signature was developed to classify the tumors internally with 93% accuracy, and this was successfully validated on an external data-set with 94% accuracy. Pathway analysis highlighted clinically relevant dysregulated pathways of c-erbB2 and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in chRCC, but no significant differences in p-AKT or extracellular HER2 expression was identified on immunohistochemistry. Loss of chromosome 1p, reflected in both cytogenetic and expression analysis, is common to both entities, implying this may be an early event in histogenesis. Multiple regional areas of cytogenetic alterations and corresponding expression biases differentiating the two entities were identified. Parafibromin, aquaporin 6, and synaptogyrin 3 were novel immunohistochemical markers effectively discriminating the two pathologic entities.
Gene expression profiles, high-throughput SNP genotyping, and pathway analysis effectively distinguish chRCC from oncocytoma. We have generated a novel transcript predictor that is able to discriminate between the two entities accurately, and which has been validated both in an internal and an independent data-set, implying generalizability. A cytogenetic alteration, loss of chromosome 1p, common to renal oncocytoma and chRCC has been identified, providing the opportunities for identifying novel tumor suppressor genes and we have identified a series of immunohistochemical markers that are clinically useful in discriminating chRCC and oncocytoma.
PMCID: PMC2883967  PMID: 20462447
22.  Deregulation of PAX2 expression in renal cell tumours: mechanisms and potential use in differential diagnosis 
Expression of PAX2 (Paired-box 2) is suppressed through promoter methylation at the later stages of embryonic development, but eventually reactivated during carcinogenesis. Pax-2 is commonly expressed in the most prevalent renal cell tumour (RCT) subtypes—clear cell RCC (ccRCC), papillary RCC (pRCC) and oncocytoma—but not in chromophobe RCC (chrRCC), which frequently displays chromosome 10 loss (to which PAX2 is mapped). Herein, we assessed the epigenetic and/or genetic alterations affecting PAX2 expression in RCTs and evaluated its potential as biomarker. We tested 120 RCTs (30 of each main subtype) and four normal kidney tissues. Pax-2 expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry and PAX2 mRNA expression levels were determined by quantitative RT-PCR. PAX2 promoter methylation status was assessed by methylation-specific PCR and bisulfite sequencing. Chromosome 10 and PAX2 copy number alterations were determined by FISH. Pax-2 immunoexpression was significantly lower in chrRCC compared to other RCT subtypes. Using a 10% immunoexpression cut-off, Pax-2 immunoreactivity discriminated chrRCC from oncocytoma with 67% sensitivity and 90% specificity. PAX2 mRNA expression was significantly lower in chrRCC, compared to ccRCC, pRCC and oncocytoma, and transcript levels correlated with immunoexpression. Whereas no promoter methylation was found in RCTs or normal kidney, 69% of chrRCC displayed chromosome 10 monosomy, correlating with Pax-2 immunoexpression. We concluded that Pax-2 expression might be used as an ancillary tool to discriminate chrRCC from oncocytomas with overlapping morphological features. The biological rationale lies on the causal relation between Pax-2 expression and chromosome 10 monosomy, but not PAX2 promoter methylation, in chrRCC.
PMCID: PMC3780547  PMID: 23890189
Renal cell tumours; PAX2; differential diagnosis; chromosome 10 monosomy; promoter methylation
23.  TERT promoter mutations in renal cell carcinomas and upper tract urothelial carcinomas 
Oncotarget  2014;5(7):1829-1836.
TERT promoter mutations are identified in many malignancies including bladder cancer (BC) and upper tract urothelial carcinoma (UTUC). In contrast, no mutations were found in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as reported in a recent study. Because the mutant TERT promoter in urine DNA was recently tested as a marker for BC, it is important to ascertain whether these mutations are truly absent in RCCs. Here we determined TERT promoter mutations in 109 patients with RCC and 14 patients with UTUC. The mutations were found in 9/96 (9.3%) clear cell RCC (ccRCC) tumors and 1/8 (13%) chromophobe RCC tumors. Among ccRCC patients, the mutation was correlated with the advanced stages and metastasis, and higher TERT expression. Among UTUCs, the mutation was detected in tumors from 3/5 (60%) patients with renal pelvic cancer and 1/9 (11%) patients with ureter cancer. The mutation was also detected in 1 of 4 urine samples from patients with mutation+ UTUC. Collectively, TERT promoter mutations do occur in RCCs and are associated with aggressive disease. The mutation is more frequent in renal pelvic cancer. Thus, the mutant TERT promoter found in urine may come from not only BC, but also RCC or UTUC.
PMCID: PMC4039120  PMID: 24742867
Promoter mutation; RCC; TERT; Telomerase; UTUC
24.  Genome-Wide Promoter Methylome of Small Renal Masses 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(10):e77309.
The majority of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is now incidentally detected and presents as small renal masses (SRMs) defined as ≤4 cm in size. SRMs are heterogeneous comprising several histological types of RCC each with different biology and behavior, and benign tumors mainly oncocytoma. The varied prognosis of the different types of renal tumor has implications for management options. A key epigenetic alteration involved in the initiation and progression of cancer is aberrant methylation in the promoter region of a gene. The hypermethylation is associated with transcriptional repression and is an important mechanism of inactivation of tumor suppressor genes in neoplastic cells. We have determined the genome-wide promoter methylation profiles of 47 pT1a and 2 pT1b clear cell, papillary or chromophobe RCC, 25 benign renal oncocytoma ≤4 cm and 4 normal renal parenchyma specimens by Infinium HumanMethylation27 beadchip technology. We identify gene promoter hypermethylation signatures that distinguish clear cell and papillary from each other, from chromophobe and oncocytoma, and from normal renal cells. Pairwise comparisons revealed genes aberrantly hypermethylated in a tumor type but unmethylated in normal, and often unmethylated in the other renal tumor types. About 0.4% to 1.7% of genes comprised the promoter methylome in SRMs. The Infinium methylation score for representative genes was verified by gold standard technologies. The genes identified as differentially methylated implicate pathways involved in metabolism, tissue response to injury, epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), signal transduction and G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), cancer, and stem cell regulation in the biology of RCC. Our findings contribute towards an improved understanding of the development of RCC, the different biology and behavior of histological types, and discovery of molecular subtypes. The differential methylation signatures may have utility in early detection and particularly differential diagnosis for prognostic stratification as well as identify novel gene and pathway targets for therapeutic intervention.
PMCID: PMC3811999  PMID: 24204800
25.  The von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Gene Inhibits Hepatocyte Growth Factor/Scatter Factor-Induced Invasion and Branching Morphogenesis in Renal Carcinoma Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1999;19(9):5902-5912.
Loss of function in the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene occurs in familial and most sporadic renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). VHL has been linked to the regulation of cell cycle cessation (G0) and to control of expression of various mRNAs such as for vascular endothelial growth factor. RCC cells express the Met receptor tyrosine kinase, and Met mediates invasion and branching morphogenesis in many cell types in response to hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF). We examined the HGF/SF responsiveness of RCC cells containing endogenous mutated (mut) forms of the VHL protein (VHL-negative RCC) with that of isogenic cells expressing exogenous wild-type (wt) VHL (VHL-positive RCC). We found that VHL-negative 786-0 and UOK-101 RCC cells were highly invasive through growth factor-reduced (GFR) Matrigel-coated filters and exhibited an extensive branching morphogenesis phenotype in response to HGF/SF in the three-dimensional (3D) GFR Matrigel cultures. In contrast, the phenotypes of A498 VHL-negative RCC cells were weaker, and isogenic RCC cells ectopically expressing wt VHL did not respond at all. We found that all VHL-negative RCC cells expressed reduced levels of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 (TIMP-2) relative to the wt VHL-positive cells, implicating VHL in the regulation of this molecule. However, consistent with the more invasive phenotype of the 786-0 and UOK-101 VHL-negative RCC cells, the levels of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were reduced and levels of the matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 were elevated compared to the noninvasive VHL-positive RCC cells. Moreover, recombinant TIMPs completely blocked HGF/SF-mediated branching morphogenesis, while neutralizing antibodies to the TIMPs stimulated HGF/SF-mediated invasion in vitro. Thus, the loss of the VHL tumor suppressor gene is central to changes that control tissue invasiveness, and a more invasive phenotype requires additional genetic changes seen in some but not all RCC lines. These studies also demonstrate a synergy between the loss of VHL function and Met signaling.
PMCID: PMC84441  PMID: 10454537

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