Signaling pathways in renal cell carcinoma

Cancer Biol Ther. 2010 Oct 1;10(7):658-64. doi: 10.4161/cbt.10.7.13247. Epub 2010 Oct 1.


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most lethal type of genitourinary cancer, is generally resistant to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgical excision of the tumor at a localized stage remains the mainstay for curative therapy. A number of drugs developed in recent years have shown limited to significant efficacy in treating RCC. These drugs act by blocking critical signaling pathways associated with RCC tumor growth and survival, and angiogenesis. Beyond well-validated signaling targets such as VHL, VEGFR and mTOR, additional pathways including HGF/c-MET and Wnt/β-catenin have emerged as important to RCC pathogenesis. Mutations in one or more components of these signaling networks may affect tumor response to therapy. This review summarizes the state of knowledge about signaling pathways in RCC and discusses the known genetic and epigenetic alterations that underlie dysregulation of these pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / genetics
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / physiopathology*
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / prevention & control
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / genetics
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A / physiology


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A
  • Receptors, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor