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Histopathology. 2008 Nov;53(5):533-44. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2008.03151.x.

Renal cell carcinoma in children and young adults: analysis of clinicopathological, immunohistochemical and molecular characteristics with an emphasis on the spectrum of Xp11.2 translocation-associated and unusual clear cell subtypes.

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Departments of Pathology, Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.



Recent studies suggest that paediatric renal cell carcinoma (RCC) may represent a distinct group of tumours; however, its biological behaviour and classification remain poorly understood. The aim was to analyse 13 RCCs from patients < or =23 years of age to determine their clinicopathological, immunohistochemical and molecular characteristics.


The histological spectrum included: Xp11.2 translocation-associated (6/13 patients, 46%), clear cell (5/13 patients, 38%), papillary (1/13 patients) and unclassified (1/13 patients) types. The Xp11.2 translocation-associated RCCs had a wide morphological spectrum, with high nuclear grade cells with abundant cytoplasm ranging from clear to granular and architecture ranging from solid to papillary. These tumours lacked cytokeratin expression and were confirmed by nuclear reactivity for TFE3 protein. Most of these translocation-associated tumours presented at high stage and had an unfavourable outcome. Three clear cell RCCs had unusual features that have not been previously characterized, including solid and cystic architecture, cells with abundant eosinophilic cytoplasm yet low nuclear grade and focal cytoplasmic inclusions, resembling oncocytoma. Deletion of subtelomeric 3p25 was observed in two of these RCCs.


Xp11.2 translocation-associated RCC represents a predominant and aggressive subtype in the paediatric age group. Increased awareness of this subtype is important due to its heterogeneous morphology.

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