P63, CK7, PAX8 and INI-1: An optimal immunohistochemical panel to distinguish poorly differentiated urothelial cell carcinoma from high-grade tumours of the renal collecting system

Jason C. Carvalho, Dafydd G. Thomas, Jonathan B. Mchugh, Rajal B. Shah, Lakshmi P. Kunju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


Aims: High-grade, poorly differentiated, infiltrative carcinomas involving the renal sinus region often pose challenging differential diagnostic considerations, specifically differentiation of urothelial carcinoma (UC) from renal cell carcinoma (RCC) subtypes. Accurate classification, especially the distinction of UC from RCC, is critical, as therapeutic approaches differ. Methods and results: Cluster analysis was performed on immunohistochemical data from 18 invasive UCs, six CDCs, two RMCs, 18 type 2 papillary renal cell carcinomas (PRCCs) and 20 high-grade clear cell renal cell carcinomas (CRCCs) using a broad panel of traditional and novel immunohistochemical markers. The initial analysis with all antibodies segregates almost all the RCCs (45 of 46, 98%) from all the UCs based on the lack of expression of p63 in all (100%) RCCs, along with predominant strong expression of paired box gene 8 (PAX8) and vimentin, predominant lack of expression of high molecular weight cytokeratin (HMCK) and CK7 and variable expression of RCC, CD10, CA1X and PAX2. All the UCs cluster together with strong, diffuse reactivity for p63, predominant reactivity for CK7 and high molecular weight kininogen (HMWK), and absent to minimal staining with PAX8, RCC antigen, PAX2, alpha-methylacyl-CoA racemase (AMACR), carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) and vimentin. After removing antibodies with significant overlap and/or minimal impact, a second analysis with a limited panel including p63, CK7, vimentin, integrase interactor 1 (INI-1) and PAX8 was performed. Again, the majority of UCs cluster into one group and p63 positivity separates all UCs from RCCs. Conclusions: Lack of INI-1 expression, noted exclusively in RMCs, segregates RMCs into a separate cluster. PAX8 is rarely positive (17%) in UC, is commonly expressed in CDC, RMC, PRCC and CRCC and is superior to PAX2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-608
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012



  • Collecting duct carcinoma
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • P63
  • PAX8
  • Renal medullary carcinoma
  • Urothelial carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology

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