Renal cell tumors with clear cell histology and intact VHL and chromosome 3p: a histological review of tumors from the Cancer Genome Atlas database.

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Modern pathology : an official journal of the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, Inc


Clear cell renal cell carcinoma is by far the most common form of kidney cancer; however, a number of histologically similar tumors are now recognized and considered distinct entities. The Cancer Genome Atlas published data set was queried (http://cbioportal.org) for clear cell renal cell carcinoma tumors lacking VHL gene mutation and chromosome 3p loss, for which whole-slide images were reviewed. Of the 418 tumors in the published Cancer Genome Atlas clear cell renal cell carcinoma database, 387 had VHL mutation, copy number loss for chromosome 3p, or both (93%). Of the remaining, 27/31 had whole-slide images for review. One had 3p loss based on karyotype but not sequencing, and three demonstrated VHL promoter hypermethylation. Nine could be reclassified as distinct or emerging entities: translocation renal cell carcinoma (n=3), TCEB1 mutant renal cell carcinoma (n=3), papillary renal cell carcinoma (n=2), and clear cell papillary renal cell carcinoma (n=1). Of the remaining, 6 had other clear cell renal cell carcinoma-associated gene alterations (PBRM1, SMARCA4, BAP1, SETD2), leaving 11 specimens, including 2 high-grade or sarcomatoid renal cell carcinomas and 2 with prominent fibromuscular stroma (not TCEB1 mutant). One of the remaining tumors exhibited gain of chromosome 7 but lacked histological features of papillary renal cell carcinoma. Two tumors previously reported to harbor TFE3 gene fusions also exhibited VHL mutation, chromosome 3p loss, and morphology indistinguishable from clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the significance of which is uncertain. In summary, almost all clear cell renal cell carcinomas harbor VHL mutation, 3p copy number loss, or both. Of tumors with clear cell histology that lack these alterations, a subset can now be reclassified as other entities. Further study will determine whether additional entities exist, based on distinct genetic pathways that may have implications for treatment.

Medical Subject Headings

Carcinoma, Renal Cell; Chromosomes, Human, Pair 3; Gene Dosage; Humans; Kidney Neoplasms; Mutation; Von Hippel-Lindau Tumor Suppressor Protein

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