Recent advances of immunohistochemistry for diagnosis of renal tumors


  • Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Naoto Kuroda, MD, Department of Diagnostic Pathology, Kochi Red Cross Hospital, Shin-honmachi 2-13-51, Kochi City, Kochi 780-8562, Japan. Email:


The recent classification of renal tumors has been proposed according to genetic characteristics as well as morphological difference. In this review, we summarize the immunohistochemical characteristics of each entity of renal tumors. Regarding translocation renal cell carcinoma (RCC), TFE3, TFEB and ALK protein expression is crucial in establishing the diagnosis of Xp11.2 RCC, renal carcinoma with t(6;11)(p21;q12), and renal carcinoma with ALK rearrangement, respectively. In dialysis-related RCC, neoplastic cells of acquired cystic disease-associated RCC are positive for alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), but negative for cytokeratin (CK) 7, whereas clear cell papillary RCC shows the inverse pattern. The diffuse positivity for carbonic anhydrase 9 (CA9) is diagnostic for clear cell RCC. Co-expression of CK7 and CA9 is characteristic of multilocular cystic RCC. CK7 and AMACR are excellent markers for papillary RCC and mucinous tubular and spindle cell carcinoma. CD82 and epithelial-related antigen (MOC31) may be helpful in the distinction between chromophobe RCC and renal oncocytoma. WT1 and CD57 highlights the diagnosis of metanephric adenoma. The combined panel of PAX2 and PAX8 may be useful in the diagnosis of metastatic RCC.