Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney: Up-regulation of neural markers with activation of the sonic hedgehog and Akt pathways

Colleen Cutcliffe, Donna Kersey, Chiang Ching Huang, Yong Zeng, David Walterhouse, Elizabeth J. Perlman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Purpose and Experimental Design: Clear cell sarcoma of the kidney (CCSK), the second most common renal tumor in children, poses significant diagnostic challenges. No positive diagnostic markers are available, and the pathogenesis of CCSK remains an enigma. To address these challenges, the gene expression patterns of 14 CCSKs were compared with 15 Wilms tumors and 3 fetal kidney samples using oligonucleotide arrays. Results: Using unsupervised methods, the gene expression profile of CCSK was distinctive: differentially expressed genes could largely be grouped into four categories: (a) a wide variety of neural markers, (b) members of the Sonic hedgehog pathway, (c) members of the phosphoinositide-3-kinase/Akt cell proliferation pathway, and (d) known therapeutic targets. Corresponding changes in critical proteins using Western blot and/or immunohistochemistry confirmed the up-regulation of these pathways and proteins. In particular, CD117 and epidermal growth factor receptor are up-regulated at the protein level in many CCSKs, providing potential therapeutic targets. One of the neural markers, nerve growth factor receptor, represents a promising diagnostic tool for CCSK. Conclusions: This study suggests that CCSKs arise within a renal mesenchymal cell that shows a wide variety of neural markers. As such, it seems to be susceptible to genetic changes also seen in a variety of other neuroectodermal and neuronal tumors, including activation of Sonic hedgehog and phosphoinositide-3-kinase/Akt pathways. Involvement of these pathways in CCSKs implicates their widening role in tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7986-7994
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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