The Use of Immunohistochemistry in the Diagnosis of Metastatic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Review of PAX-8, PAX-2, hKIM-1, RCCma, and CD10

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The diagnosis of metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma may be difficult in some cases, particularly in the small image-guided biopsies that are becoming more common. As targeted therapies for renal cell carcinoma are now standard treatment, the recognition and diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma has become even more critical. Many adjunctive immunohistochemical markers of renal epithelial lineage such as CD10 and RCCma have been proposed as aids in the diagnosis of metastatic renal cell carcinoma, but low specificities often limit their utility. More recently described markers (PAX-2, PAX-8, human kidney injury molecule-1, hepatocyte nuclear factor-1-β, and carbonic anhydrase-IX) offer the potential for greater sensitivity and specificity in this diagnostic setting; however, knowledge of their expected staining in other neoplasms and tissues is critical for appropriate use. In this review, we discuss the most widely used immunohistochemical markers of renal lineage with an emphasis on their sensitivity and specificity for metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Subsequently, we present a variety of organ-specific differential diagnostic scenarios in which metastatic clear cell renal cell carcinoma might be considered and we propose immunopanels for use in each situation.

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