Potential role of genetic markers in the management of kidney cancer

Kerstin Junker, Vincenzo Ficarra, Eugene D. Kwon, Bradley C. Leibovich, R. Houston Thompson, Egbert Oosterwijk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Context: Kidney cancer is not a single entity but comprises a number of different types of cancer that occur in the kidney including renal cell tumours as the most common type. Four major renal cell tumour subtypes can be distinguished based on morphologic and genetic characteristics. To individualise therapy and to improve the prognosis in patients with renal cell tumours, accurate subtyping, definition of individual course of disease, and the prediction of therapy response are necessary. Objective: To discuss the potential role of genetic markers in the management of kidney cancer. Evidence acquisition: A Medline search was conducted to identify original articles, review articles, and editorials addressing the role of genetic alterations in kidney cancer management. Keywords included kidney neoplasms, genetics, SNP, gene expression, miRNA, classification, diagnosis, drug therapy, prognosis, and therapy. The articles with the highest level of evidence were identified and critically reviewed. This review is the result of an interactive peer-reviewing process by an expert panel of co-authors. Evidence synthesis: Each subtype is characterised by specific genetic, epigenetic, and expression patterns that potentially can be used to subclassify renal cell tumours in cases of ambivalent histopathology. Molecular signatures and single alterations in primary tumours are associated with aggressiveness and prognosis. Germline polymorphisms in specific genes encoding for metabolizing enzymes, efflux transporters, and drug targets seem to be associated with toxicity and response in patients receiving targeted therapy. Conclusions: Significant advances have been achieved in the molecular analysis of renal cancer. Validation of findings is greatly needed to implement genetic markers in the management of renal cancer. This should lead to improved diagnosis, prognosis, and personalised therapy in this heterogeneous disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Gene expression
  • Genetic markers
  • Kidney cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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