Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most fatal of the common urologic cancers, with approximately 35% of patients dying within 5 years following diagnosis. Therefore, there is a need for non-invasive markers that are capable of detecting and determining the severity of small renal masses at an early stage in order to tailor treatment and follow-up. Proteomic studies have proved to be very useful in the study of tumors. Areas covered: In this review, we will detail the current knowledge obtained by the different proteomic approaches, focusing on MS-based strategies, used to investigate RCC biology in order to identify diagnostic, prognostic and predictive biomarkers on tissue, cultured cells and biological fluids. Expert commentary: Currently, no reliable biomarkers or targets for RCC have been translated into the clinical setting. Moreover, despite the efforts of proteomics and other -omics disciplines, only a small number of them have been observed as shared targets between the different analytical platforms and biological specimens. The difficulty to define a specific molecular pattern for RCC and its subtypes highlights a peculiar profile and a heterogeneity that must be taken into account in future studies.
Keywords: Renal cell carcinoma; biological fluids; biomarkers; cancer; kidney; mass spectrometry imaging; peptidome; proteome; proteomics; tissue.