New Approach for Kidney Cancer Prognosis

The Cancer Genome Atlas Research Network investigators, including Center for Cancer Research scientists, identified genetic and metabolic pathway changes linked to reduced survival of patients within and across subtypes of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a type of kidney cancer. These distinct changes demonstrate a need for the development of subgroup-specific treatment strategies.

RCC is not one disease but rather a collection of cancers originally defined by histology, or how the cells look under a microscope. The three major subtypes are clear cell, papillary and chromophobe, and each has different driver mutations, prognoses and treatment responses. However, physicians have observed that even patients whose tumor cells look similar can have very different disease courses and outcomes.

To catalog the differences between RCC subtypes and to discover pathways that might be altered in multiple subtypes, a research team of Scientists previously mentioned, performed a comprehensive molecular analysis of 843 histologically verified RCC tumors.

The study showed that changes in the genes BAP1, PBRM1 and PTEN as well as certain altered metabolic pathways were associated with decreased patient survival in specific RCC subtypes. Interestingly, the researchers found that changes to the gene CDKN2A, increases in a DNA modification called hypermethylation and increases in an immune expression signature called Th2 correlated with reduced patient survival in all the major subtypes. The investigators also identified a small subgroup of patients with chromophobe RCC, described as metabolically divergent, who had extremely poor survival.

Together these results demonstrate the importance of using histology and genomics to identify and to design more precise therapies for the various types of RCC.

As you can see, there are new studies constantly appearing and it is important to be updated and ready to take advantage of these new discoveries. We are glad to hear this type of news that contributes new knowledge to the scientific area.