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1.  Survival advantage of partial over radical nephrectomy in patients presenting with localized renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:372.
Partial nephrectomy (PN) preserves renal function and has become the standard approach for T1a renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, there is still an ongoing debate as to which patients will actually derive greater benefit from partial than from radical nephrectomy (RN). The aim of this study was to retrospectively evaluate the impact of the type of surgery on overall survival (OS) in patients with localized RCC.
Renal surgery was performed in 4326 patients with localized RCC (pT ≤ 3a N/M0) at six German tertiary care centers from 1980 to 2010: RN in 2955 cases (68.3%), elective (ePN) in 1108 (25.6%), and imperative partial nephrectomy (iPN) in 263 (6.1%) cases. The median follow-up for all patients was 63 months. Kaplan-Meier and Cox regression analyses were carried out to identify prognosticators for OS.
PN was performed significantly more often than RN in patients presenting with lower tumor stages, higher RCC differentiation, and non-clear cell histology. Accordingly, the calculated 5 (10)-year OS rates were 90.0 (74.6)% for ePN, 83.9 (57.5)% for iPN, and 81.2 (64.7)% for RN (p < 0.001). However, multivariate analysis including age, sex, tumor diameter and differentiation, histological subtype, and the year of surgery showed that ePN compared to RN still qualified as an independent factor for improved OS (HR 0.79, 95% CI 0.66-0.94, p = 0.008).
Even allowing for the weaknesses of this retrospective analysis, our multicenter study indicates that in patients with localized RCC, PN appears to be associated with better OS than RN irrespective of age or tumor size.
PMCID: PMC4038042  PMID: 24885955
2.  German second-opinion network for testicular cancer: Sealing the leaky pipe between evidence and clinical practice 
Oncology Reports  2014;31(6):2477-2481.
In 2006, the German Testicular Cancer Study Group initiated an extensive evidence-based national second-opinion network to improve the care of testicular cancer patients. The primary aims were to reflect the current state of testicular cancer treatment in Germany and to analyze the project’s effect on the quality of care delivered to testicular cancer patients. A freely available internet-based platform was developed for the exchange of data between the urologists seeking advice and the 31 second-opinion givers. After providing all data relevant to the primary treatment decision, urologists received a second opinion on their therapy plan within <48 h. Endpoints were congruence between the first and second opinion, conformity of applied therapy with the corresponding recommendation and progression-free survival rate of the introduced patients. Significance was determined by two-sided Pearson’s χ2 test. A total of 1,284 second-opinion requests were submitted from November 2006 to October 2011, and 926 of these cases were eligible for further analysis. A discrepancy was found between first and second opinion in 39.5% of the cases. Discrepant second opinions led to less extensive treatment in 28.1% and to more extensive treatment in 15.6%. Patients treated within the framework of the second-opinion project had an overall 2-year progression-free survival rate of 90.4%. Approximately every 6th second opinion led to a relevant change in therapy. Despite the lack of financial incentives, data from every 8th testicular cancer patient in Germany were submitted to second-opinion centers. Second-opinion centers can help to improve the implementation of evidence into clinical practice.
PMCID: PMC4055348  PMID: 24788853
second-opinion network; testicular cancer; quality of care; treatment scope
3.  Galectin-1 and Galectin-3 mRNA expression in renal cell carcinoma 
Galectins are known to regulate cell differentiation and growth as well as cell adhesion and apoptosis. Galectins have been discussed as possible prognosticators for survival in renal cell cancer (RCC) and other urological tumors. They might also play an emerging role as possible new marker-proteins for RCC. In this study, we analyzed the expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA in order to further investigate their clinical significance in RCC.
Tissue samples were obtained from 106 patients undergoing surgery for RCC. The expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA in normal kidney and corresponding cancer tissue was analyzed using quantitative real time PCR. Differences in expression levels of paired tissue samples were assessed using paired two-sample tests. Associations of relative mRNA expression levels in tumor tissues with clinical findings were analyzed using univariate logistic regression.
The expression of galectin-1 (p < 0.001) and -3 (p < 0.001) mRNA were significantly higher in RCC when compared to the adjacent normal kidney tissue. For clear cell RCC, an association of male gender with higher galectin-1 and galectin-3 mRNA expression (p = 0.054, p = 0.034) was detected. For all RCCs, galectin-1 mRNA expression failed to show a significant association with advanced disease as well as a higher rate of lymph node metastases (p = 0.058, p = 0.059).
The mRNA expression of galectin-1 and galectin-3 is significantly increased in RCC cancer tissue. The higher mRNA expression in tumor tissue of male patients raises the question of a functional connection between galectins and the higher prevalence of RCC in men. Associations with advanced disease might lead to new ways of identifying patients at higher risk of recurrent disease and might even facilitate early metastasectomy with curative intent.
PMCID: PMC4026056  PMID: 24708743
Galectin; Renal cell carcinoma; Biomarker; Prognosis
4.  Neurofilament Heavy polypeptide CpG island methylation associates with prognosis of renal cell carcinoma and prediction of antivascular endothelial growth factor therapy response 
Cancer Medicine  2014;3(2):300-309.
Neurofilament Heavy polypeptid (NEFH) belongs to the group of type IV intermediate filament proteins. DNA methylation of the NEFH promoter and loss of expression have previously been shown to activate the AKT/β-catenin pathway in tumor cells. When identifying hypermethylation of the NEFH CpG island (CGI) in renal cell cancer (RCC) we asked whether methylation could provide clinical or prognostic information for RCC and/or predict therapy response in patients with metastatic RCC (mRCC) undergoing antiangiogenic therapy. Relative methylation of the NEFH CGI was analyzed in 132 RCC samples and 83 paired normal tissues using quantitative methylation-specific PCR. Results were statistically compared with tumor histology, clinicopathological parameters, progression-free survival (PFS) as well as with overall survival (OS) in a subset of 18 mRCC patients following antiangiogenic therapy regimens. The NEFH CGI methylation demonstrated a tumor-specific increase (P < 0.001), association with advanced disease (P < 0.001), and distant metastasis (P = 0.005). Higher relative methylation was also significantly associated with a poor PFS (HR = 8.6, P < 0.001) independent from the covariates age, gender, diameter of tumors, state of advanced disease, and local and distant metastasis. Median OS following targeted therapy was 29.8 months for patients with low methylation versus 9.8 months for the group with high methylation (P = 0.028). We identified NEFH methylation as a candidate epigenetic marker for prognosis of RCC patients as well as prediction of anti-vascular endothelial growth factor-based therapy response.
PMCID: PMC3987080  PMID: 24464810
Methylation; risk assessment; translational research; urological oncology
5.  DNA Methylation Biomarkers Predict Progression-Free and Overall Survival of Metastatic Renal Cell Cancer (mRCC) Treated with Antiangiogenic Therapies 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e91440.
VEGF-targeted therapy increases both the progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of patients with metastasized renal cell cancer (mRCC). Identification of molecular phenotypes of RCC could improve risk-stratification and the prediction of the clinical disease course. We investigated whether gene-specific DNA hypermethylation can predict PFS and OS among patients undergoing anti-VEGF-based therapy. Primary tumor tissues from 18 patients receiving targeted therapy were examined retrospectively using quantitative methylation-specific PCR analysis of CST6, LAD1, hsa-miR-124-3, and hsa-miR-9-1 CpG islands. PFS and OS were analyzed for first-line and sequential antiangiogenic therapies using the log rank statistics. Sensitivity and specificity were determined for predicting first-line therapy failure. Hypermethylation of CST6 and LAD1 was associated with both a shortened PFS (log rank p = 0.009 and p = 0.004) and OS (p = 0.011 and p = 0.043). The median PFS observed for the high and low methylation groups of CST6 and LAD1 was 2.0 vs.11.4 months. LAD1 methylation had a specificity of 1.0 (95% CI 0.65–1.0) and a sensitivity of 0.73 (95% CI 0.43–0.90) for the prediction of first-line therapy. CST6 and LAD1 methylation are candidate epigenetic biomarkers showing unprecedented association with PFS and OS as well as specificity for the prediction of the response to therapy. DNA methylation markers should be considered for the prospective evaluation of larger patient cohorts in future studies.
PMCID: PMC3954691  PMID: 24633192
6.  GATA5 CpG island hypermethylation is an independent predictor for poor clinical outcome in renal cell carcinoma 
Oncology Reports  2014;31(4):1523-1530.
Transcriptional inactivation and CpG island (CGI) methylation of GATA transcription factor family members GATA3 and GATA5 have been reported for a few types of human cancer. Whether high-density CGI methylation of GATA3 or GATA5 is associated with the clinical course of patients with renal cell cancer (RCC) has not been clarified. Quantitative methylation-specific PCR assays were carried out to analyze 25 tumor cell lines including 6 RCC lines and 119 RCC and 87 adjacent normal tissues for the presence of densely methylated sequences. Methylation values were statistically compared with clinicopathological and recurrence-free survival (RFS) data for patients. Comparison of GATA3 and GATA5 methylation in different tumor cell lines revealed a marker-specific methylation characteristic with high and frequent signals for both methylation marks in RCC lines. GATA3 and GATA5 CGI relative methylation levels were found to be strongly associated with the state of metastasis (P=0.003 and P<0.001, respectively) and advanced disease (P=0.024 and P<0.001, respectively). Moreover, an independent decrease in RFS in Cox proportional hazard analysis was found for tumors exhibiting high GATA5 methylation (P<0.001, hazard ratio, 19.3; 95% confidence interval, 4.58–81.6). Epigenetic alterations in GATA family members may be associated with aggressive tumor phenotypes in RCC, and in the case of GATA5, may serve as a new independent molecular marker for aggressiveness and disease progression.
PMCID: PMC3975988  PMID: 24549248
GATA3; GATA5; renal cell cancer; DNA hypermethylation; survival; prognosis
7.  Decreased GATA5 mRNA expression associates with CpG island methylation and shortened recurrence-free survival in clear cell renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2014;14:101.
GATA-5, a zinc-finger transcription factor and member of the GATA family proteins 1–6, is known to be involved in cellular differentiation. We recently found that tumor-specific hypermethylation of the GATA5 CpG island (CGI) occurs in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and is associated with an adverse clinical outcome. In this study, we investigated whether epigenetic GATA5 alterations may result in changes in GATA5 mRNA expression levels and correlate with the observed prognostic impact of epigenetic changes in GATA5 in RCC.
Quantitative real-time reverse-transcribed polymerase chain reaction was applied to measure relative GATA5 mRNA expression levels in 135 kidney tissue samples, including 77 clear cell RCC (ccRCC) tissues and 58 paired adjacent normal renal tissue samples. Relative GATA5 expression levels were determined using the ΔΔCt method and detection of three endogenous control genes then compared to previously measured values of relative methylation.
The mean relative GATA5 mRNA expression level exhibited an approximately 31-fold reduction in tumor specimens compared with corresponding normal tissues (p < 0.001, paired t-test). Decreased GATA5 mRNA expression was inversely correlated with increased GATA5 CGI methylation (p < 0.001) and was associated with shortened recurrence-free survival in ccRCC patients (p = 0.023, hazard ratio = 0.25).
GATA5 mRNA expression is decreased in ccRCC, likely due to gene silencing by methylation of the GATA5 CGI. Moreover, reduced GATA5 mRNA levels were associated with a poor clinical outcome, indicating a possible role of GATA5 for the development of aggressive ccRCC phenotypes.
PMCID: PMC3930894  PMID: 24533449
GATA5; Renal cell carcinoma; mRNA; Prognosis; DNA methylation
8.  Elevated C-reactive protein values predict nodal metastasis in patients with penile cancer 
BMC Urology  2013;13:53.
The nodal status is a strong predictor for cancer specific death in patients with penile carcinoma, and the C-reactive protein (CRP) level at diagnosis has recently been shown to be associated with poor clinical outcome in various solid malignancies. Therefore, this retrospective study was performed to evaluate the association between preoperative CRP levels and the incidence of nodal metastasis in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the penis.
The analysis included 51 penile cancer patients who underwent either radical or partial penectomy for pT1-4 penile cancer between 1990 and 2010. The nodal status was correlated with patient and tumor specific characteristics.
Sixteen (31%) patients had lymph node metastasis at the time of penile cancer surgery. Nodal status was associated with tumor stage but did not correlate significantly with tumor grade. In contrast, high presurgical CRP levels were significantly associated with the diagnosis of nodal involvement (p = 0.04). The optimal CRP cut-off value to predict lymph node metastasis was set at 20 mg/l based on ROC analysis.
Since a high preoperative serum CRP level was closely correlated with nodal disease, it could be used as an additional marker to help identify patients with penile cancer who may benefit from inguinal lymph node dissection.
PMCID: PMC4016472  PMID: 24148787
Penile cancer; Biomarker; C-reactive protein; Nodal disease; Prognosis; Survival
9.  Incidence of synchronous and metachronous adrenal metastases following tumor nephrectomy in renal cell cancer patients: a retrospective bi-center analysis 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:293.
Synchronous adrenalectomy has become dispensable since retrospective studies have demonstrated no survival benefit when preoperative imaging was normal. The aim of this large bi-institutional study was to determine the appearance of synchronous and metachronous metastases to the adrenal gland as detected by computed tomography and positron emission tomography or magnetic resonance imaging with consecutive surgical removal of suspicious lesions.
Materials and methods
We retrospectively reviewed the clinico-pathological records of 2720 patients from two urological centers who underwent radical or partial nephrectomy due to kidney cancer disease. Synchronous adrenalectomy was carried out in 548 of all cases (20.2%). Metachronous adrenalectomy was performed in 24 cases due to suspicious imaging in follow-up.
Metastatic spread in patients with synchronous adrenalectomy was found in 29/548 cases (5.3%), as suspected. In metachronous procedures positive pathological results were found in 24 of 24 cases. Among them 54% of all tumor recurrences were detected in the contralateral adrenal gland.
In case of preoperative suspicious imaging an intraoperative frozen section should be performed. Radiological investigations are of high diagnostic value for detecting metachronous tumor growth into the adrenal gland. Surgery in this scenario should be recommended due to the high malignancy rate reported here.
PMCID: PMC3706723  PMID: 23853759
Adrenal gland; Renal cell carcinoma; Synchronous metastasis; Metachronous metastasis; Laparoscopy
10.  High CRP values predict poor survival in patients with penile cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:223.
High levels of circulating C-reactive protein (CRP) have recently been linked to poor clinical outcome in various malignancies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the prognostic significance of the preoperative serum CRP level in patients with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the penis.
This retrospective analysis included 79 penile cancer patients with information about their serum CRP value prior to surgery who underwent either radical or partial penectomy at two German high-volume centers (Ulm University Medical Center and Hannover Medical School) between 1990 and 2010. They had a median (mean) follow-up of 23 (32) months.
A significantly elevated CRP level (>15 vs. ≤ 15 mg/l) was found more often in patients with an advanced tumor stage (≥pT2) (38.9 vs. 11.6%, p=0.007) and in those with nodal disease at diagnosis (50.0 vs. 14.6%, p=0.007). However, high CRP levels were not associated with tumor differentiation (p=0.53). The Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer-specific survival (CSS) rate was 38.9% for patients with preoperative CRP levels above 15 mg/l and 84.3% for those with lower levels (p=0.001). Applying multivariate analysis and focusing on the subgroup of patients without metastasis at the time of penile surgery, both advanced local tumor stage (≥pT2; HR 8.8, p=0.041) and an elevated CRP value (>15 mg/l; HR 3.3, p=0.043) were identified as independent predictors of poor clinical outcome in patients with penile cancer.
A high preoperative serum CRP level was associated with poor survival in patients with penile cancer. If larger patient populations confirm its prognostic value, its routine use could enable better risk stratification and risk-adjusted follow-up of patients with SCC of the penis.
PMCID: PMC3649950  PMID: 23642165
SCC; Penis; Penile cancer; Biomarker; C-reactive protein; Prognosis; Survival
11.  Reduced mrna expression level of corticotropin-releasing hormone-binding protein is associated with aggressive human kidney cancer 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:199.
Significance of Urocortin (Ucn or UcnI), Ucn2, Ucn3 and their receptors, Corticotropin Releasing Factor Receptor 1 and 2 (CRFR1 and CRFR2), and the binding protein, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone-Binding Protein (CRHBP) in oncology is growing rapidly. The objective of our study was to assess the expression of the CRHBP mRNA and protein in renal cancer.
Tumoral tissues of 78 patients with clear cell renal cell cancer and their corresponding normal tissues were analyzed using quantitative mRNA expression analysis for detection of mRNA expression level. Protein expression and tissue localization of CRHBP protein in renal specimens was evaluated using western blotting, immunohistochemistry and double immunofluorescence, respectively.
We found an approx. 33 fold decrease of average CRHBP mRNA level in tumoral tissues compared to paired normal tissues (p<0.001). Diminished CRHBP mRNA expression was positively correlated with advanced, metastasized and higher stage of disease (p<0.001, p=0.026, p=0.028 respectively). CRHBP protein was detected in glomeruli and proximal tubules of normal kidney while none or weak immunopositivity was found in cc-RCC (p<0.001).
The expression analysis of CRHBP shows that cc-RCC is characterized by a significant loss of CRHBP mRNA expression that furthermore is associated with a more aggressive state of tumors. Depletion of CRHBP proteins also indicate that the protein as part of the UCN system may be involved in renal carcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC3653809  PMID: 23607589
12.  Preoperative serum C- reactive protein: a prognostic marker in patients with upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma 
BMC Cancer  2013;13:101.
To analyse the prognostic significance of preoperative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum level in patients with upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UUT-UC).
We evaluated 158 UUT-UC patients who had undergone surgery in the University Hospital of Hannover (MHH). 143 (89.4%) suffered from cancer in the renal pelvis, 13 (8.1%) patients presented with tumour located in the ureter. A preoperative CRP value was available for 115 patients. The mean (median) follow-up for these patients was 28.3 (15.1) months.
The median (mean) CRP value of all evaluable patients was 10.0 (40.7) mg/l. The CRP-level, stratified into two subgroups (CRP ≤5 vs. >5 mg/l), correlated significantly with muscle invasive tumour stage (36.4 vs. 78.9%; p<0.001), the risk of presenting nodal disease (4.5 vs. 26.8%; p=0.002) and distant metastasis (2.3 vs. 16.9%; p<0.016). The Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer specific survival (CSS) rates were 54.2 and 26.4% for patients with preoperative CRP levels ≤ and >5 mg/l, respectively (p<0.006). Next to age and the presence of metastasis, multivariate analysis also identified CRP as a continuous variable as an independent prognosticator for CSS.
A high preoperative serum CRP level is associated with locally advanced and metastatic disease in patients with UUT-UC. Its routine use could allow better risk stratification and risk-adjusted follow-up of UUT-UC patients.
PMCID: PMC3606347  PMID: 23497335
UUT-UC; Biomarker; C-reactive protein; Aggressivness; Prognosis; Survival
13.  Avanafil for the treatment of erectile dysfunction: initial data and clinical key properties 
Orally active, selective inhibitors of phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE 5, cyclic GMP PDE), such as sildenafil, tadalafil and vardenafil, are currently the first-choice treatment options for the clinical management of erectile dysfunction (ED) of various etiologies and severities. However, a significant number of patients remain dissatisfied with the available therapies due a lack of efficacy or discomfort arising from adverse events. Several new PDE5 inhibitors, among which are avanafil (TA-1790), lodenafil, mirodenafil, udenafil, SLX-2101, JNJ-10280205 and JNJ-10287069, have recently been approved and introduced into the market or are in the final stages of their clinical development. Avanafil (marketed in the US under the brand name STENDRA™) has been developed by VIVUS Inc. (Mountain View, CA, USA) and has recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in the treatment of male ED. The drug has demonstrated improved selectivity for PDE5, is rapidly absorbed after oral administration with a fast onset of action and a plasma half-life that is comparable to sildenfil and vardenafil. In phase II and phase III clinical trials that included a large number of patients, avanafil has been shown to be effective and well tolerated. Owing to its favorable pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic profile, avanafil is considered as a promising new option in the treatment of ED. The present article summarizes the initial data and clinical key properties of avanafil.
PMCID: PMC3547533  PMID: 23372609
avanafil; erectile dysfunction; oral pharmacotherapy; PDE5 inhibitors
14.  Does Obesity Influence the Prognosis of Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma in Patients Treated with Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor–Targeted Therapy? 
The Oncologist  2011;16(11):1565-1571.
Whether or not obesity (measured in terms of body mass index, body surface area, visceral fat area, and s.c. fat area) can predict the long-term prognosis of renal cell cancer patients treated with vascular endothelial growth factor–targeted therapy is examined.
Obesity increases the risk for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, it has only recently been identified as an independent positive prognostic factor for localized RCC.
To determine whether obesity influences long-term prognosis in metastatic RCC patients receiving vascular endothelial growth factor–targeted therapy.
Design, Setting, and Participants.
In 116 patients with metastatic RCC who received antiangiogenic agents (sunitinib, sorafenib, axitinib, bevacizumab) in 2005–2010, we evaluated whether body mass index (BMI), a body surface area (BSA) above the European average, the visceral fat area (VFA), or s.c. fat area (SFA) were of predictive relevance.
BMI was categorized based on current World Health Organization definitions. BSA was stratified according to the European average for men (1.98 m2) and women (1.74 m2). VFA and SFA were dichotomized using the median of the observed distribution as the cutoff. The primary endpoints of this study were time to progression and overall survival time.
Results and Limitations.
The whole population had median progression-free and overall survival times of 8.3 months and 20.5 months, respectively. In contrast to BMI and BSA, higher than average VFA and SFA levels were significant predictors of longer progression-free and overall survival times. The major limitations of this study are its retrospective design and its heterogeneous patient population.
This is the first study to identify high VFA and SFA levels as positive predictive biomarkers for patients who receive first-line antiangiogenic agents for metastatic RCC.
PMCID: PMC3233291  PMID: 22020210
Metastatic kidney cancer; Prognosis; Body mass index; BMI; Body surface area; BSA; Visceral fat; Subcutaneous fat; Obesity; Overweight
15.  Clear-cell variant urothelial carcinoma of the bladder: a case report and review of the literature 
Rare Tumors  2012;4(4):e48.
Clear cell variants of transitional cell carcinomas (TCC) of the bladder are extremely rare tumors. Only 6 cases have been reported until now. We report of a 67 year old man who presented with fast growing tumor disease. While initial diagnosis showed localized bladder tumor, final histopathology revealed pT4, G3, L1 urothelial carcinoma with clear cell differentiation. No more than 14 weeks after initial diagnosis the patient died from multi-organ failure after unsuccessful salvage laparotomy which showed massive tumor burden within the pelvis and peritoneal carcinosis. This case demonstrated an extremely fast tumor growth. Therefore, patients with clear cell urothelial carcinoma should be treated vigorously and without time delay. We present a case of clear cell variant of TCC which exhibited an extremely aggressive behavior. To our knowledge this is the fifth report of this rare disease.
PMCID: PMC3557562  PMID: 23372912
clear-cell; TCC; urothelial carcinoma; adenocarcinoma.
16.  Validation of CRP as prognostic marker for renal cell carcinoma in a large series of patients 
BMC Cancer  2012;12:399.
To evaluate the prognostic significance of the pre-operative C-reactive protein (CRP) serum level in patients with renal cell cancer (RCC).
We evaluated 1,161 RCC patients with complete patient and tumour specific characteristics as well as information about their pre-operative CRP-level, who had undergone either radical nephrectomy or nephron-sparing surgery at two German high-volume centres (University Hospitals of Hannover and Ulm). The mean follow-up was 54 months.
The CRP-level, stratified to three subgroups (CRP ≤ 4, 4–10, and >10 mg/l), correlated significantly with tumour stage (p < 0.001), the risk of presenting nodal disease (2.1, 3.1, and 16.4%) and distant metastasis (2.9, 8.6, and 30.0%; p < 0.001). The Kaplan-Meier 5-year cancer specific survival (CSS) rates were 89.4, 77.9, and 49.5%, respectively (p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis identified CRP as an independent prognosticator for CSS as well as overall survival (p < 0.001). Patients with a CRP of 4–10 and >10 mg/l had a 1.67 and 2.48 fold higher risk of dying due to their RCC compared to those with a pre-operative CRP ≤4 mg/l, respectively.
A high preoperative serum CRP level is an independent predictor of poor survival in patients with RCC. Its routine use could allow better risk stratification and risk-adjusted follow-up of RCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3502607  PMID: 22958305
Renal cell cancer; Biomarker; C-reactive protein; Prognosis; Survival
17.  Granular cell tumour of the urinary bladder 
Rare Tumors  2012;4(2):e22.
With only 16 cases reported in the literature, the mostly benign granular cell tumour of the urinary bladder is exceptionally rare. We present the case of a 68-year old patient with one of these lesions demonstrating our histological findings including several immunohistochemical stainings used to differentiate between other more common entities.
PMCID: PMC3401150  PMID: 22826779
bladder tumour; granular cell tumour; bladder cancer; transurethral resection of the bladder.
18.  Caveolin 1 protein expression in renal cell carcinoma predicts survival 
BMC Urology  2011;11:25.
Caveolae play a significant role in disease phenotypes such as cancer, diabetes, bladder dysfunction, and muscular dystrophy. The aim of this study was to elucidate the caveolin-1 (CAV1) protein expression in renal cell cancer (RCC) and to determine its potential prognostic relevance.
289 clear cell RCC tissue specimens were collected from patients undergoing surgery for renal tumors. Both cytoplasmic and membranous CAV1 expression were determined by immunohistochemistry and correlated with clinical variables. Survival analysis was carried out for 169 evaluable patients with a median follow up of 80.5 months (interquartile range (IQR), 24.5 - 131.7 months).
A high CAV1 expression in the tumor cell cytoplasm was significantly associated with male sex (p = 0.04), a positive nodal status (p = 0.04), and poor tumor differentiation (p = 0.04). In contrast, a higher than average (i.e. > median) CAV1 expression in tumor cell membranes was only linked to male sex (p = 0.03). Kaplan-Meier analysis disclosed significant differences in 5-year overall (51.4 vs. 75.2%, p = 0.001) and tumor specific survival (55.3 vs. 80.1%, p = 0.001) for patients with higher and lower than average cytoplasmic CAV1 expression levels, respectively. Applying multivariable Cox regression analysis a high CAV1 protein expression level in the tumor cell cytoplasm could be identified as an independent poor prognostic marker of both overall (p = 0.02) and tumor specific survival (p = 0.03) in clear cell RCC patients.
Over expression of caveolin-1 in the tumour cell cytoplasm predicts a poor prognosis of patients with clear cell RCC. CAV1 is likely to be a useful prognostic marker and may play an important role in tumour progression. Therefore, our data encourage further investigations to enlighten the role of CAV1 and its function as diagnostic and prognostic marker in serum and/or urine of RCC patients.
PMCID: PMC3266190  PMID: 22152020
19.  Fibronectin 1 mRNA expression correlates with advanced disease in renal cancer 
BMC Cancer  2010;10:503.
Fibronectin 1 (FN1) is a glycoprotein involved in cellular adhesion and migration processes. The aim of this study was to elucidate the role of FN1 in development of renal cell cancer (RCC) and to determine a prognostic relevance for optimal clinical management.
212 renal tissue samples (109 RCC, 86 corresponding tissues from adjacent normal renal tissue and 17 oncocytomas) were collected from patients undergoing surgery for renal tumors and subjected to total RNA extraction. Detection of FN1 mRNA expression was performed using quantitative real time PCR, three endogenous controls, renal proximal tubular epithelial cells (RPTEC) as biological control and the ΔΔCt method for calculation of relative quantities.
Mean tissue specific FN1 mRNA expression was found to be increased approximately seven fold comparing RCC and corresponding kidney control tissues (p < 0.001; ANOVA). Furthermore, tissue specific mean FN1 expression was increased approx. 11 fold in clear cell compared to papillary RCC (p = 9×10-5; Wilcoxon rank sum test). Patients with advanced disease had higher FN1 expression when compared to organ-confined disease (p < 0.001; Wilcoxon rank sum test). Applying subgroup analysis we found a significantly higher FN1 mRNA expression between organ-confined and advanced disease in the papillary and not in the clear cell RCC group (p = 0.02 vs. p = 0.2; Wilcoxon rank sum test). There was an increased expression in RCC compared to oncocytoma (p = 0.016; ANOVA).
To our knowledge, this is the first study to show that FN1 mRNA expression is higher in RCC compared to normal renal tissue. FN1 mRNA expression might serve as a marker for RCC aggressiveness, indicating early systemic progression particularly for patients with papillary RCC.
PMCID: PMC2949811  PMID: 20860816
20.  Maspin protein expression correlates with tumor progression in non-muscle invasive bladder cancer 
Oncology Letters  2010;1(4):621-626.
Maspin is a 42-kDa protein that belongs to the family of serine protease inhibitors. It is involved in various physiological processes. In cancer tissue, Maspin was found to influence angiogenesis, tumor growth, metastasis and the prognosis of tumor patients. This study was performed to analyze the involvement of Maspin in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder as well as its prognostic impact in a large patient cohort. Specimens from 162 non-muscle invasive bladder cancer patients (pTa, 91; pT1, 71) treated by transurethral resection with a minimum 3-year follow-up (median 58.5 months) were included in the present investigation. Tissue microarrays were constructed, and the specimens were immunohistochemically stained for Maspin protein expression. Each tissue specimen was assessed on a staining scale ranging from 0 (no staining) to 300 (strong staining) and correlated with various clinicopathological parameters. Maspin protein expression predicted progression with a sensitivity of 95% and a specificity of 70% (p<0.001). In predicting recurrence, Maspin staining showed 52% sensitivity and 67% specificity (p<0.05). Kaplan-Meier analyses were performed, and a low Maspin protein expression was correlated with a higher incidence of tumor progression (p<0.0001). However, expression levels of Maspin protein did not distinguish between pTa and pT1 specimens. Multivariate analyses indicated Maspin expression as an independent factor for predicting progression (p<0.0001) and recurrence (p<0.05). The present results suggest that the Maspin protein expression is an independent prognostic indicator for predicting recurrence and progression to muscle invasive disease. This study further emphasizes a possible clinical role of this novel tumor suppressor gene in transitional cell carcinoma of the bladder.
PMCID: PMC3436411  PMID: 22966354
biomarker; maspin; recurrence; prognosis; progression; transitional cell carcinoma; transitional bladder cancer
21.  Urocortin and corticotropin-releasing factor receptor 2 in human renal cell carcinoma: disruption of an endogenous inhibitor of angiogenesis and proliferation 
World Journal of Urology  2009;27(6):825-830.
Urocortin (Ucn) exerts its actions through activation of two corticotropin-releasing factor receptors (CRFRs), CRFR1 and CRFR2. Involvement of Ucn/CRFR2 system in pathophysiological conditions such as the regulation of angiogenesis and inhibition of proliferation has been already reported. Suppression of neovascularization through reduction of vascular endothelial growth factor and inhibition of tumor cell cycling is modulated mainly through activation of CRFR2. To find out a possible involvement of Ucn/CRFR2 in kidney tumor, we examined the expression of Ucn and CRFR2 in normal and tumoral kidney specimens.
We applied reverse transcriptase PCR (n = 14), immunofluorescence (IF) on tissue microarrays (n = 25) and confocal microscopy to examine the mRNA expression and peptide/protein localization of Ucn and CRFR2 in normal kidney versus clear cell renal cell carcinoma, respectively.
Ucn and CRFR2 mRNAs are expressed in normal and tumor specimens. In normal tissue, IF showed a cytoplasmic staining of Ucn mainly in proximal tubules, whereas a diffuse nuclear staining with diverse intensity was observed in tumoral tissues. CRFR2 was detected in proximal tubules and vasculature of normal specimens. Intriguingly, an almost complete loss of CRFR2 was observed in epithelial cells and microvessels within tumor tissues.
Here, and for the first time, we show the expression of Ucn and CRFR2 in human kidney and renal cell carcinoma. We propose that the nuclear translocation of Ucn along with the loss of CRFR2 in epithelial cells and microvasculature of tumoral specimens may be involved in the pathobiology of renal cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC2780655  PMID: 19437022
Urocortin; CRFR2; Kidney tumor; Angiogenesis; Proliferation
22.  RASSF1A protein expression and correlation with clinicopathological parameters in renal cell carcinoma 
BMC Urology  2008;8:12.
Epigenetic silencing of RAS association family 1A (RASSF1A) tumor suppressor gene occurs in various histological subtypes of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) but RASSF1A protein expression in clear cell RCC as well as a possible correlation with clinicopathological parameters of patients has not been analyzed at yet.
318 primary clear cell carcinomas were analyzed using tissue microarray analysis and immunohistochemistry. Survival analysis was carried out for 187 patients considering a follow-up period of 2–240 month.
Expression of RASSF1A was found to be significantly decreased in tumoral cells when compared to normal tubular epithelial cells. RASSF1A immunopositivity was significantly associated with pT stage, group stage and histological grade of tumors and showed a tendency for impaired survival in Kaplan-Meier analysis.
While most tumors demonstrate a loss of RASSF1A protein, a subset of tumors was identified to exhibit substantial RASSF1A protein expression and show increased tumor progression. Thus RCC tumorigenesis without depletion of RASSF1A may be associated with an adverse clinical outcome.
PMCID: PMC2572051  PMID: 18822131
23.  Surgical approach in patients with T4 bladder cancer as primary treatment: Disaster or option with improved quality of life 
Whereas local control is often insufficient in conservative management of T4 bladder cancer, neoadjuvant chemotherapy delays definite treatment, which could result in increased therapy-associated morbidity and mortality during the course of the disease. Primary cystectomy has been reported to be associated with a high complication rate and unsatisfactory clinical efficacy. Herein, we report postoperative outcome in 21 T4 bladder cancer patients subjected to primary cystectomy.
Materials and Methods:
Twenty-one patients underwent radical cystectomy for T4 (T4a/b: 14 and seven cases, respectively) bladder cancer. At the time of surgery, eight patients had regional lymph node metastases (N2: 6; N3: 2). The average age was 64 (52-77) years (≥70 years: n = 7). The postoperative follow-up was 13 (1-36) months for the whole group.
Mean duration of postoperative hospitalization was 19 (11-50) days. Whereas 10 patients received no intra - or postoperative blood transfusions, an average number of 3 (1-7) blood units were administered in the remaining cases. The mean postoperative hemoglobin value of patients not receiving any blood transfusions was 10 (8.5 - 11.4) g/dl. Major therapy-associated complications were paresthesia affecting the lower extremities (n = 3) as well as insignificant pulmonary embolism, enterocutaneous fistulation and acute renal failure in one patient, respectively. At the time of data evaluation, 11 patients were still alive after a follow-up of 20 (6-36) months. Four patients ≥70 years at the time of cystectomy were still alive 11, 11, 22 and 31 months following surgery, respectively.
Primary cystectomy for T4 bladder cancer is a technically feasible approach that is associated with a tolerable therapy-related morbidity/mortality. Additionally, a satisfactory clinical outcome is observed even in a substantial number of elderly patients.
PMCID: PMC2684222  PMID: 19468367
Bladder cancer; cystectomy; survival; treatment
24.  Cadherin-9 Is a Novel Cell Surface Marker for the Heterogeneous Pool of Renal Fibroblasts 
PLoS ONE  2007;2(8):e657.
Interstitial fibroblasts are a minor, but nevertheless very important, component of the kidney. They secrete and remodel extracellular matrix and they produce active compounds such as erythropoietin. However, studying human renal fibroblasts has been hampered by the lack of appropriate surface markers.
Methods and Findings
The expression of cadherin-9 in various human renal cell lines and tissues was studied on the mRNA level by RT-PCR and on the protein level with the help of newly generated cadherin-9 antibodies. The classical type II cadherin-9, so far only described in the neural system, was identified as a reliable surface marker for renal fibroblasts. Compared to FSP1, a widely-used cytosolic renal fibroblast marker, cadherin-9 showed a more restricted expression pattern in human kidney. Under pathological conditions, cadherin-9 was expressed in the stroma of renal cell carcinoma, but not in the tumor cells themselves, and in renal fibrosis the percentage of cadherin-9-positive cells was clearly elevated 3 to 5 times compared to healthy kidney tissue. Induction of epithelial mesenchymal transition in renal epithelial cells with cyclosporin-A, which causes renal fibrosis as a side effect, induced cadherin-9 expression. Functional studies following siRNA-mediated knockdown of cadherin-9 revealed that it acts in the kidney like a typical classical cadherin. It was found to be associated with catenins and to mediate homophilic but not heterophilic cell interactions.
Cadherin-9 represents a novel and reliable cell surface marker for fibroblasts in healthy and diseased kidneys. Together with the established marker molecules FSP1, CD45 and α smooth muscle actin, cadherin-9 can now be used to differentiate the heterogenic pool of renal fibroblasts into resident and activated fibroblasts, immigrated bone marrow derived fibroblast precursors and cells in different stages of epithelial mesenchymal transition.
PMCID: PMC1924602  PMID: 17668045
25.  RASSF1A promoter methylation and expression analysis in normal and neoplastic kidney indicates a role in early tumorigenesis 
Molecular Cancer  2007;6:49.
Epigenetic silencing of the RAS association domain family 1A (RASSF1A) tumor suppressor gene promoter has been demonstrated in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) as a result of promoter hypermethylation. Contradictory results have been reported for RASSF1A methylation in normal kidney, thus it is not clear whether a significant difference between RASSF1A methylation in normal and tumor cells of the kidney exists. Moreover, RASSF1A expression has not been characterized in tumors or normal tissue as yet.
Using combined bisulfite restriction analysis (COBRA) we compared RASSF1A methylation in 90 paired tissue samples obtained from primary kidney tumors and corresponding normal tissue. Bisulfite sequence analysis was carried out using both pooled amplicons from the tumor and normal tissue groups and subclones obtained from a single tissue pair. Expression of RASSF1A was analyzed by the use of tissue arrays and immunohistochemistry. We found significantly increased methylation in tumor samples (mean methylation, 20%) compared to corresponding normal tissues (mean methylation, 11%; P < 0.001). Densely methylated sequences were found both in pooled and individual sequences of normal tissue. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed a significant reduced expression of RASSF1A in most of the tumor samples. Heterogeneous expression patterns of RASSF1A were detected in a subgroup of histologically normal tubular epithelia.
Our methylation and expression data support the hypothesis that RASSF1A is involved in early tumorigenesis of renal cell carcinoma.
PMCID: PMC1939711  PMID: 17634119

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