Immunohistochemical Detection of the von Hippel-Lindau Gene Product (pVHL) in Human Tissues and Tumors: A Useful Marker for Metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma and Clear Cell Carcinoma of the Ovary and Uterus

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Genetic alteration of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene has been linked to hereditary and sporadic clear cell renal cell carcinomas (RCCs). Inconsistent data on immunodetection of the VHL gene product (pVHL) in normal tissues and tumors have been reported. We immunohistochemically reevaluated the usefulness of a specific rabbit polyclonal anti-pVHL antibody in 531 cases of renal and nonrenal neoplasms and normal tissues. Positive immunostaining was observed in nearly 100% of primary renal neoplasms, 95% of metastatic RCCs, and 90% of clear cell carcinomas of the ovary and uterus. In normal tissues, positive immunoreactivity was observed only in renal tubules, exocrine pancreas, islets, and bile ducts. Western blot and reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction confirmed the immunostaining results. These data indicate that this anti-pVHL antibody is a useful marker in assisting diagnosis of metastatic RCC and may serve as a diagnostic marker for clear cell carcinomas of the ovary and uterus.

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