TSC/MTOR -associated Eosinophilic Renal Tumors Exhibit a Heterogeneous Clinicopathologic Spectrum : A Targeted Next-generation Sequencing and Gene Expression Profiling Study

Am J Surg Pathol. 2022 Nov 1;46(11):1562-1576. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0000000000001955. Epub 2022 Aug 19.


Background: Several TSC1/2- or MTOR -mutated eosinophilic renal tumor subsets are emerging, including eosinophilic solid and cystic renal cell carcinoma (ESC RCC), eosinophilic vacuolated tumors (EVTs) and low-grade oncocytic tumors (LOTs). "Unclassified renal tumors with TSC/MTOR mutations" ( TSC -mt RCC-NOS) do not meet the criteria for other histomolecular subtypes. Whether these tumors represent a continuum of 1 TS C/ MTOR -mutation-associated disease is unknown.

Design: We evaluated the clinicopathologic and IHC profiles of 39 eosinophilic renal tumors with targeted DNA sequencing-confirmed TSC/MTOR mutations. Twenty-eight of these, plus 6 ChRCC, 5 RO, 5 ccRCC, 7 MiT RCC and 6 normal renal tissues, were profiled transcriptionally by RNA-seq.

Results: The 39 cases were reclassified based on morphological and IHC features as ESC RCC (12), EVT (9), LOT, (8) and TSC -mt RCC-NOS (10). The mutation profiles demonstrated consistency; ESC RCCs (12/12) had TSC mutations, and most LOTs (7/8) had MTOR mutations. Ten TSC -mt RCC-NOSs exhibited heterogeneous morphology, arising a differential diagnosis with other renal tumors, including MiT RCC, PRCC and epithelioid PEComa. RNA sequencing-based clustering segregated ESC RCC, EVT and LOT from each other and other renal tumors, indicating expression profile-level differences. Most TSC- mt RCC-NOSs (6/7) formed a mixed cluster with ESC RCC, indicating similar expression signatures; one TSC- mt RCC-NOS with unusual biphasic morphology clustered with EVT.

Conclusions: We expanded the TSC/MTOR -associated eosinophilic renal tumor morphologic spectrum, identified gene mutation characteristics, and highlighted differential diagnosis challenges, especially with MiT RCC. ESC RCC, EVT, and LOT having distinct expression profiles. TSC -mt RCC-NOS may cluster with recognized TSC/MTOR -associated entities.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / genetics
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell* / pathology
  • Carotenoids
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Kidney Neoplasms* / pathology
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Vitamin A / analogs & derivatives


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • trans-sodium crocetinate
  • Vitamin A
  • Carotenoids
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases