VEGFA amplification/increased gene copy number and VEGFA mRNA expression in renal cell carcinoma with TFEB gene alterations

Anna Caliò, Matteo Brunelli, Diego Segala, Serena Pedron, Claudio Doglioni, Pedram Argani, Guido Martignoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Amplification of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA) has been recently reported in TFEB-amplified renal cell carcinomas regardless the level of TFEB amplification. We sought to determine VEGFA amplification by fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) and VEGFA mRNA expression by in situ hybridization (RNAscope 2.5) in a series of 10 renal cell carcinomas with TFEB gene alterations, either amplification and/or rearrangement (t(6;11) renal cell carcinoma). TFEB gene rearrangement was demonstrated in eight cases, whereas the remaining two cases showed a high level of TFEB (> 10 copies of fluorescent signals) gene amplification without evidence of rearrangement. Among the eight t(6;11) renal cell carcinomas (TFEB-rearranged cases), one case displayed a high level of TFEB gene amplification and two showed increased TFEB gene copy number (3–4 copies of fluorescent signals). Those three cases behaved aggressively. By FISH, VEGFA was amplified in all three cases with TFEB amplification and increased VEGFA gene copy number was observed in the two aggressive cases t(6;11) renal cell carcinomas with an overlapping increased number of TFEB fluorescent signals. Overall, VEGFA mRNA expression was observed in 8 of 10 cases (80%); of these 8 cases, 3 cases showed high-level TFEB amplification, one case showed TFEB rearrangement with increased TFEB gene copy number, whereas four showed TFEB gene rearrangement without increased copy number. In summary, VEGFA amplification/increased gene copy number and VEGFA mRNA expression occur in TFEB-amplified renal cell carcinoma, but also in a subset of t(6;11) renal cell carcinoma demonstrating aggressive behavior, and in unamplified conventional t(6;11) renal cell carcinoma suggesting VEGFA as potential therapeutic target in these neoplasms even in the absence of TFEB amplification. We finally propose that all the renal tumors showing morphological characteristics suggesting t(6;11) renal cell carcinoma and all unclassified renal cell carcinomas, either high grade or low grade, should immunohistochemically be evaluated for cathepsin K and/or Melan-A and if one of them is positive, tested for TFEB gene alteration and VEGFA gene amplification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)258-268
Number of pages11
JournalModern Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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