High-Grade, Nonsarcomatoid Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma: A Series of 22 Cases With Novel Molecular Features on a Subset

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Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (ChRCC) is the third most common subtype of renal cell carcinoma and typically exhibits indolent behavior, though a rare subset can exhibit high-grade morphologic features and is associated with a poor prognosis. Although there are limited data on the molecular characteristics of metastatic and sarcomatoid ChRCC, the molecular features of high-grade, nonsarcomatoid ChRCC remain unexplored. Herein, we characterize 22 cases of ChRCC with high-grade, nonsarcomatoid components. High-grade ChRCC frequently demonstrated advanced stage at diagnosis (64% ≥pT3a or N1), with regions of extrarenal extension, nodal metastases, and vascular invasion consisting solely of high-grade ChRCC morphologically. We performed spatially guided panel-based DNA sequencing on 11 cases comparing high-grade and low-grade regions (n = 22 samples). We identified recurring somatic alterations emblematic of ChRCC, including deletions of chromosomes 1, 2, 6, 10, 13, 17, and 21 in 91% (10/11) of cases and recurring mutations in TP53 (81.8%, n = 9/11) and PTEN (36.4%, n = 4/11). Notably, although PTEN and TP53 alterations were found in both high-grade and low-grade regions, private mutations were identified in 3 cases, indicating convergent evolution. Finally, we identified recurring RB1 mutations in 27% (n = 3) of high-grade regions leading to selective protein loss by immunohistochemistry not observed in adjacent low-grade regions. This finding was confirmed in The Cancer Genome Atlas cohort where 2 of 66 cases contained RB1 mutations and demonstrated unequivocal high-grade, nonsarcomatoid morphology. We also detected multiple chromosomal gains confined to the high-grade regions, consistent with imbalanced chromosome duplication. These findings broaden our understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of ChRCC and suggest that subclonal RB1 mutations can drive the evolution to high-grade, nonsarcomatoid ChRCC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100472
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • RB1 mutation
  • chromophobe renal cell carcinoma
  • high grade
  • sarcomatoid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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