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TCGA's Study of Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma

What is kidney cancer?

The most common type of kidney cancer is called renal cell carcinoma. This cancer forms in the cells lining the small tubules in the kidney that filter waste from the blood and make urine. An estimated 58,240 Americans were expected to have been diagnosed with kidney cancer and an estimated 13,040 to have died of this cancer in 2010.1 Most people with kidney cancer are usually over 55 years of age and this cancer is more common in men. When detected early, most cases of kidney cancer can be treated effectively. However, survival rates are low when the cancer has spread from the kidney to other parts of the body. Additional information on kidney cancer.

TCGA analyzed two common subtypes of renal cell carcinoma: clear cell and papillary. The identification of these subtypes of kidney cancer is based on how the cancer cells look under a microscope. Approximately 8% of cases are papillary carcinoma.2

What have TCGA researchers learned about papillary renal cell carcinoma?

  • Type 1 and Type 2 papillary renal cell carcinoma, defined by differences in the appearance of the tissue under the microscope, are distinct in their genomic profiles.
    • 81% of Type 1 tumors contained an alteration of the MET gene and may be receptive to specific inhibitors of the MET pathway.
    • Type 2 is a heterogeneous disease with multiple distinct subtypes.
    • The CpG island methylation phenotype subtype was found almost exclusively in Type 2 papillary carcinoma and was associated with the least favorable outcomes.
    • Type 2 is also associated with loss of expression of the tumor suppressor CDKN2A was associated with a poor prognosis.

TCGA's papillary renal cell carcinoma study

TCGA Research Network publications

Find NCI-supported renal cell cancer clinical trials


Selected References

1American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2010.

2Chow WH, Dong LM, and Devesa SS. Epidemiology and risk factors for kidney cancer. Nature Rev Urol. 2010 May; 7(5):245-57.

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