Fumarate hydratase-deficient renal cell carcinoma: A tumor with diverse morphology including cannibalism, lymphocytic emperipolesis, and defective autophagy

Ann Diagn Pathol. 2022 Feb:56:151844. doi: 10.1016/j.anndiagpath.2021.151844. Epub 2021 Oct 27.


We report the clinicopathological findings of the first series of 3 patients from Brazil with fumarate hydratase-deficient renal cell carcinoma. The clinicopathological findings disclosed a very aggressive tumor. All 3 patients had solitary tumor at the left side, metastasis and advanced stage at the time of diagnosis; were females with a median age of 40 years; had a history of uterine leiomyomas; and, at follow-up two patients are deceased and one patient alive. The microscopic findings of these 3 patients are in accordance with the literature disclosing a variety of morphologic features being papillary arrangement, eosinophilic cytoplasm, and prominent nucleoli surrounded by clear halo the constant and most frequent findings. Previously not reported in this tumor, we describe presence of cannibalism, lymphocytic emperipolesis, and cytoplasmic vacuoles with eosinophilic inclusions associated with overexpression of p62 in immunohistochemistry which is considered to be evidence of defective autophagy. Lymphocytic emperipolesis was a more frequent finding than cannibalism and immunohistochemistry for p62 was overexpressed only in the 2 patients disclosing cytoplasmic vacuoles with eosinophilic inclusions. The presence, frequency and significance of these novel findings should be checked in large series of this rare and aggressive tumor aiming to associate with clinical behavior and eventually influence the strategy of treatment.

Keywords: Cannibalism; Defective autophagy; Fumarate hydratase; Lymphocytic emperipolesis; Pathology; Renal cell carcinoma.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autophagy / physiology*
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / pathology*
  • Emperipolesis / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fumarate Hydratase / genetics*
  • Fumarate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Middle Aged


  • Fumarate Hydratase