FHIT expression in clear cell renal carcinomas: versatility of protein levels and correlation with survival

J Pathol. 2002 Apr;196(4):430-6. doi: 10.1002/path.1062.


Clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) are characterized by a deletion of chromosome 3p, which might result in the inactivation of the FHIT (fragile histidine triad) gene, a putative tumour suppressor gene. To explore the relevance of FHIT aberrations for tumour progression and prognosis in clear cell RCCs, FHIT protein expression was analysed in formalin-fixed tissue from 149 clear cell RCCs by immunohistochemistry. FHIT protein expression was found to be markedly reduced in all RCCs, when compared with adjacent non-neoplastic tubule epithelia. Although remaining below the FHIT levels of normal tubule epithelia, a significant increase of FHIT expression became evident from well (G1) to poorly (G3) differentiated clear cell RCCs (p=0.0001) and from low (pT1) to advanced (pT3) tumour stages (p=0.001). The log-rank test demonstrated a significant inverse correlation (p=0.0074) between FHIT expression and tumour aggressiveness as indicated by patient survival. Cox regression analysis revealed that FHIT expression is an independent prognostic parameter (p=0.0139) in clear cell RCCs. In conclusion, clear cell RCCs show a marked reduction of FHIT protein expression when compared with their putative cells of origin. In contrast to other tumour types, however, loss of FHIT protein expression is significantly less pronounced in poorly differentiated RCCs or advanced tumour stages. This versatility of FHIT expression during tumour progression suggests a role for reversible mechanisms of FHIT inactivation during the initiation and progression of clear cell RCCs.

MeSH terms

  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / analysis*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / chemistry*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / chemistry*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Proteins / analysis*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Rate


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • fragile histidine triad protein
  • Acid Anhydride Hydrolases