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J Clin Oncol. 2018 Oct 29:JCO2018792259. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2018.79.2259. [Epub ahead of print]

Renal Cell Carcinoma in the Era of Precision Medicine: From Molecular Pathology to Tissue-Based Biomarkers.

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Sabina Signoretti and Abdallah Flaifel, Brigham and Women's Hospital; Sabina Signoretti, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; Ying-Bei Chen and Victor E. Reuter, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center; and Victor E. Reuter, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY.


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is not a single entity but includes various tumor subtypes that have been identified on the basis of either characteristic pathologic features or distinctive molecular changes. Clear cell RCC is the most common type of RCC and is characterized by dysregulation of the von Hippel Lindau/hypoxia-inducible factor pathway. Non-clear cell RCC represents a more heterogeneous group of tumors with diverse histopathologic and molecular features. In the past two decades, the improved understanding of the molecular landscape of RCC has led to the development of more effective therapies for metastatic RCC, which include both targeted agents and immune checkpoint inhibitors. Because only subsets of patients with metastatic RCC respond to a given treatment, predictive biomarkers are needed to guide treatment selection and sequence. In this review, we describe the key histologic features and molecular alterations of RCC subtypes and discuss emerging tissue-based biomarkers of response to currently available therapies for metastatic disease.

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