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Open Access Review

Renal cancer biomarkers: the promise of personalized care

Naveen S Vasudev1*, Peter J Selby2 and Rosamonde E Banks2

Author affiliations

1 The Institute of Cancer Research, Fulham Road, London SW3 6JB, UK

2 Cancer Research UK Centre, Leeds Institute of Molecular Medicine, St James's University Hospital, Leeds, UK

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Citation and License

BMC Medicine 2012, 10:112  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-10-112

Published: 27 September 2012


Significant advances in our understanding of the biology of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) have been achieved in recent years. These insights have led to the introduction of novel targeted therapies, revolutionising the management of patients with advanced disease. Nevertheless, there are still no biomarkers in routine clinical use in RCC. Tools used routinely to determine prognosis have not changed over the past decade; classification remains largely morphology based; and patients continue to be exposed to potentially toxic therapy with no indication of the likelihood of response. Thus the need for biomarkers in RCC is urgent. Here, we focus on recent advances in our understanding of the genetics and epigenetics of RCC, and the potential for such knowledge to provide novel markers and therapeutic targets. We highlight on-going research that is likely to deliver further candidate markers as well as generating large, well-annotated sample banks that will facilitate future studies. It is imperative that promising candidates are validated using these resources, and in subsequent prospective clinical trials, so that future biomarkers may be used in the clinic to personalize patient care.

Biomarkers; epigenomics; genomics; renal cell carcinoma; transcriptomics