Research Papers:

The prognostic significance of nuclear expression of PHF2 and C/EBPα in clear cell renal cell carcinoma with consideration of adipogenic metabolic evolution

Jeong Hwan Park, Minsun Jung and Kyung Chul Moon _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:142-151. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.19949

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Jeong Hwan Park1,2, Minsun Jung1 and Kyung Chul Moon1,3

1 Department of Pathology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

2 Department of Pathology, SMG-SNU Boramae Medical Center, Seoul, Republic of Korea

3 Kidney Research Institute, Medical Research Center, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea

Correspondence to:

Kyung Chul Moon, email:

Keywords: PHF2, C/EBPα, clear cell renal cell carcinoma, adipogenesis, progression

Received: May 12, 2017 Accepted: July 25, 2017 Published: August 04, 2017


Clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) is the most common subtype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), and it has an unfavourable prognosis compared to other RCCs. Plant homeodomain finger 2 (PHF2) and CCATT/enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα) play a role in the epigenetic regulation of adipogenesis, and their tumour suppressive functions have been elucidated. This study aimed to assess the nuclear expression of PHF2 and C/EBPα in ccRCC and to evaluate their role in pathogenesis and prognosis. The nuclear expression of PHF2 and C/EBPα was evaluated in 344 cases of ccRCC by immunohistochemistry, and adipogenesis was assessed based on cytoplasmic features. Low expression was significantly associated with a larger tumour size, higher WHO/ISUP grade, high pT, pM, and advanced pTNM stage. Additionally, the expression level was correlated with the cytoplasmic features of ccRCC. The low expression group had significantly shorter cancer-specific and progression-free survival times. Furthermore, multivariate analysis showed that the combination of PHF2 and C/EBPα expression as an independent prognostic factor for cancer-specific and progression-free survival. In conclusion, our results suggest that nuclear expression of PHF2 and C/EBPα may serve as a prognostic marker and that the oncogenic metabolic shift has progressed in ccRCC patients.

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