Over 5000 prognostic genes identified in renal cancer

BID kidney cancer.jpg
Figure 1. Immunohistochemical staining of BID shows (A) high and (B) low expression in renal cancer samples.
BBOX1 kidney cancer.jpg
Figure 2. Immunohistochemical staining of BBOX1 shows (A) high and (B) low expression in renal cancer samples.

Renal cancer affects mainly adults above age 60 and is more common in men than women. Although smoking, industrial chemicals and obesity have been suggested as risk factors, the underlying cause of renal cancer is often unknown. By using a systems level approach to analyze the renal cancer proteome based on clinical metadata and genome-wide transcriptomics data, 5968 genes were found to be associated with prognostic outcome.

Most renal cancers are renal cell carcinomas, a cancer type that develops from renal tubules. Two thirds of renal cell carcinomas are clear cell renal carcinomas and less common types include papillary renal cell carcinoma (10-15%), chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (5%) and collecting duct carcinoma (less than 5%). The clinical course is highly unpredictable and recurrence more than ten years after the initial resection of a primary tumor is common.

The analysis of prognostic genes in renal cancer was based on publicly available gene expression data and clinical metadata from the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), consisting of 877 patients with different stages of renal cancer. According to the analysis, 5968 genes were associated with prognostic outcome, out of which 3213 genes were associated with unfavorable prognosis and 2755 genes with favorable prognosis.

BID is a gene associated with unfavorable prognosis in renal cancer and encodes a member of the Bcl-2 protein family. In response to apoptotic signaling, it promotes cell death by activating Bax, another member of the Bcl-2 family with a key role in a signaling pathway resulting in disintegration of the cell. Immunohistochemical staining of BID shows a differential cytoplasmic expression pattern in renal cancer samples (Figure 1).

BBOX1 is a gene associated with favorable prognosis in renal cancer and encodes the protein Gamma-butyrobetaine hydroxylase 1. The suggested function of BBOX1 is to catalyze the biosynthesis of L-carnitin, a transport molecule with an important role during mitochondrial beta-oxidation. Immunohistochemical staining of BBOX1 shows varying cytoplasmic expression in samples from renal cancer patients (Figure 2).

Explore the Renal Cancer Proteome and search for your gene of interest in our Pathology Atlas! Would you like to find out more about the Pathology Atlas? Read the related research article published in Science.


Uhlén M et al, 2017. A Pathology Atlas of the Human Cancer Transcriptome. SciencePubMed: 28818916 DOI: 10.1126/science.aan2507

Histology dictionary - Renal cancer

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