Differential Expression of KAI1 Metastasis Suppressor Protein in Renal Cell Tumor Histological Subtypes

E. C. Kauffman*, D. A. Barocas, Y. T. Chen, X. J. Yang, D. S. Scherr, J. J. Tu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Purpose: The similar appearance of renal tumor histological subtypes can complicate differential diagnoses. This problem is most notable for the chromophobe subtype of renal cell carcinoma, which can be histologically indistinguishable from oncocytoma with investigational molecular markers failing to provide reliable differentiation. KAI1 is a metastasis suppressor gene whose expression correlates inversely with the metastatic potential of most solid tumor cancer types. We tested the hypothesis that KAI1 is differentially expressed among renal tumor histological subtypes. Materials and Methods: Immunohistochemical staining for KAI1 protein was performed in 152 nephrectomy specimens, including 48 clear cell, 35 papillary and 31 chromophobe renal cell carcinoma samples, 28 oncocytomas and 10 tumor-free kidneys. Staining was scored as none/minimal, low, moderate or high. KAI1 mRNA levels were compared by quantitative reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction in an additional 22 chromophobe renal cell carcinoma and oncocytoma samples. Results: In all 10 tumor-free kidneys KAI1 protein was detected exclusively in distal tubule cell membranes. Of the tumor specimens KAI1 protein was absent in all papillary renal cell carcinoma specimens. It was present in only 1 of 48 clear cell renal cell carcinomas (2%) and 2 of 28 oncocytomas (7%) but only at low levels. In contrast, 27 of 31 chromophobe renal cell carcinoma specimens (87%) expressed KAI1 protein, most at moderate or high levels. The diagnostic accuracy of KAI1 immunostaining for discerning chromophobe renal cell carcinoma from oncocytoma was 90% with similar results observed at the RNA level. Conclusions: KAI1 is an accurate biomarker for chromophobe renal cell carcinoma that may aid in the diagnostic differentiation of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma from oncocytoma. It remains to be determined whether KAI1 expression contributes to the low metastatic potential of chromophobe renal cell carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2305-2311
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2009


  • biological markers
  • carcinoma
  • genes
  • kidney
  • neoplasm metastasis
  • renal cell
  • tumor suppressor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


Dive into the research topics of 'Differential Expression of KAI1 Metastasis Suppressor Protein in Renal Cell Tumor Histological Subtypes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this