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Cellular Oncology
Volume 31 (2009), Issue 5, Pages 371-382

Different Angiogenic Potential in Low and High Grade Sporadic Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma Is Not Related to Alterations in the von Hippel–Lindau Gene

Marcella M. Baldewijns,1 Iris J. H. van Vlodrop,1 Kim M. Smits,2 Peter B. Vermeulen,3 Gert G. Van den Eynden,3 Fiona Schot,1 Tania Roskams,4 Hein van Poppel,5 Manon van Engeland,1 and Adriaan P. de Bruïne1

1Department of Pathology, GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
2Department of Epidemiology, GROW-School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
3Translational Cancer Research Group, Lab Pathology University of Antwerp/University Hospital Antwerp, Edegem; Oncology Center, General Hospital St. Augustinus, Wilrijk, Belgium
4Department of Pathology, University Hospital of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
5Department of Urology, University Hospital of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Copyright © 2009 Hindawi Publishing Corporation and the authors. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background: von Hippel–Lindau (VHL) inactivation is common in sporadic clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC). pVHL is part of the ubiquitin ligase complex that targets the alpha subunits of hypoxia-inducible transcription factor (HIF) for degradation under well-oxygenated conditions. In the absence of wild-type pVHL, as observed in VHL patients and most sporadic ccRCCs, constitutive upregulation of HIF results in transcriptional activation of angiogenesis-related genes, such as VEGF. Differences in angiogenic activity within the group of ccRCCs were reported and strong genotype-phenotype correlations were found in patients with VHL disease, raising a question about the importance of VHL inactivation status in angiogenic behaviour and tumour progression.

Methods: To address this question, we investigated the influence of VHL mutation (direct sequencing)/hypermethylation (methylation-specific PCR) on angiogenesis/tumour parameters (immunohistochemistry) in 150 patients with sporadic ccRCC.

Results: We found no significant association between VHL mutation or methylation and angiogenesis/tumour parameters.

Conclusions: These data indicate that tumour progression and angiogenesis are not directly influenced by VHL alterations and that additional genetic/epigenetic events should be considered to explain the diverse angiogenic and proliferative behaviour during tumour progression.