Overlapping morphologic, immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural features make it difficult to diagnose chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (ChRCC) and renal oncocytoma (RO). Because ChRCC is a malignant tumor, whereas RO is a tumor with benign behavior, it is important to distinguish these two entities. We aimed to identify genetic markers that distinguish ChRCC from RO by using next-generation sequencing (NGS). NGS for hotspot mutations or gene copy number changes was performed on 12 renal neoplasms, including seven ChRCC and five RO cases. Matched normal tissues from the same patients were used to exclude germline variants. Rare hotspot mutations were found in cancer-critical genes (TP53 and PIK3CA) in ChRCC but not RO. The NGS gene copy number analysis revealed multiple abnormalities. The two most common deletions were tumor-suppressor genes RB1 and ERBB4 in ChRCC but not RO. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was performed on 65 cases (ChRCC, n = 33; RO, n = 32) to verify hemizygous deletion of RB1 (17/33, 52%) or ERBB4 (11/33, 33%) in ChRCC, but not in RO (0/32, 0%). In total, ChRCCs (23/33, 70%) carry either a hemizygous deletion of RB1 or ERBB4. The combined use of RB1 and ERBB4 fluorescence in situ hybridization to detect deletion of these genes may offer a highly sensitive and specific assay to distinguish ChRCC from RO.
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