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Significance of PI3K signalling pathway in clear cell renal cell carcinoma in relation to VHL and HIF status
  1. Raviprakash Tumkur Sitaram1,
  2. Maréne Landström1,
  3. Göran Roos1,
  4. Börje Ljungberg2
  1. 1 Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology, Translational Research Center (TRC), Umeå Universitet, Umeå, Väasterbotten, Sweden
  2. 2 Department of Surgical and Preoperative Sciences, Urology and Andrology, Umeå Universitet, Umea, Västerbotten, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Raviprakash Tumkur Sitaram, Department of Medical Biosciences, Pathology,Translational Research Center (TRC), Umeå Universitet, Umeå, Väasterbotten, Sweden; raviprakash{at}


Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) includes diverse tumour types characterised by various genetic abnormalities. The genetic changes, like mutations, deletions and epigenetic alterations, play a crucial role in the modification of signalling networks, tumour pathogenesis and prognosis. The most prevalent RCC type, clear cell RCC (ccRCC), is asymptomatic in the early stages and has a poorer prognosis compared with the papillary and the chromophobe types RCCs. Generally, ccRCC is refractory to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Loss of von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) gene and upregulation of hypoxia-inducible factors (HIF), the signature of most sporadic ccRCC, promote multiple growth factors. Hence, VHL/HIF and a variety of pathways, including phosphatase and TEnsin homolog on chromosome 10/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT, are closely connected and contribute to the ontogeny of ccRCC. In the recent decade, multiple targeting agents have been developed based on blocking major signalling pathways directly or indirectly involved in ccRCC tumour progression, metastasis, angiogenesis and survival. However, most of these drugs have limitations; either metastatic ccRCC develops resistance to these agents, or despite blocking receptors, tumour cells use alternate signalling pathways. This review compiles the state of knowledge about the PI3K/AKT signalling pathway confined to ccRCC and its cross-talks with VHL/HIF pathway.

  • ccRCC
  • PTEN
  • PI3K
  • signaling pathway

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • Contributors RTS collected the data compiled and prepared the review draft. BL and GR helped in editing the draft. ML provided expert input.

  • Funding This review was supported by: the CANCERFORSKNINGSFONDEN INORRLAND/ MEDDELANDE LIONS CANCERFORSKNINGSFOND (AMP19-976) (RTS) and (AMP20- 1009) (RTS).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.