Expression of endothelin 2 and localized clear cell renal cell carcinoma

Brian M Bot, Jeanette E Eckel-Passow, Shauna N LeGrand, Tracy Hilton, John C Cheville, Todd Igel, Alexander S Parker
Human Pathology 2012, 43 (6): 843-9
Despite the rising incidence of clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the molecular events that support its development and progression remain unclear. Herein, we evaluate the association of endothelin 2 expression with both clear cell renal cell carcinoma development and progression-free survival. We conducted real-time polymerase chain reaction to determine endothelin 2 expression levels on 238 patients who underwent nephrectomy for localized clear cell renal cell carcinoma, 161 of whom also had adjacent normal kidney samples available for analysis. To evaluate associations with clear cell renal cell carcinoma development, linear mixed models were used to compare differential expression between tumor and a normal kidney as well as to explore interactions with clinicopathologic features. To evaluate associations with prognosis, Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association of progression-free survival and endothelin 2 expression in tumor tissue. Overall, endothelin 2 expression was higher in tumor samples versus patient-matched normal kidney samples, with an average fold change of 1.99 (95% confidence interval, 1.48-2.60; P < .0001). This overexpression in tumor versus normal kidney samples was more pronounced in low- compared with high-grade tumors (interaction, P = .0002), in early- compared with late-stage tumors (interaction, P = .001), and in tumors without compared with those with necrosis (interaction, P = .001). Moreover, an increasing endothelin 2 expression in tumors was associated with a longer progression-free survival (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.99; P = .03); however, after controlling for known clinicopathologic factors, this association was attenuated (hazard ratio, 0.99; 95% confidence interval, 0.89-1.09; P = .7). Up-regulation of endothelin 2 is a common and early event in localized clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Higher tumor expression of endothelin 2 is associated with a longer progression-free survival but not after adjustment for well-known pathologic indices. Thus, although endothelin 2 does not appear to be an independent prognostic marker, there is evidence of a putative role in clear cell renal cell carcinoma progression. If supportive mechanistic data can be produced, endothelin 2 could represent a potential target for chemopreventive or neoadjuvant therapeutics for clear cell renal cell carcinoma.

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