PAX2 and PAX8 expression in primary and metastatic renal tumors, A comprehensive comparison

Ayhan Ozcan, Gustavo De La Roza, Jae Ro, Steven Shen, Luan Truong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Context.-The diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) remains problematic, especially in the context of metastasis or small-needle biopsies. PAX2 and PAX8 transcription factors are known to be expressed by several histologic types of renal neoplasms. Objective.-To evaluate the diagnostic utility of PAX2 and PAX8 relative to one another, which has not been studied. Design.-Consecutive tissue sections from the archival samples of 243 primary and 99 metastatic renal neoplasms were submitted to PAX2 and PAX8 immunostain. Results.-Within the primary neoplasms, PAX2 versus PAX8 expression was noted in 90 of 95 (95%) versus 92 of 95 (97%) for clear cell RCC, 29 of 38 (76%) versus 38 of 38 (100%) for papillary RCC, 14 of 25 (56%) versus 22 of 25 (88%) for chromophobe RCC, 3 of 7 (43%) versus 5 of 7 (71%) for collecting duct RCC, 6 of 8 (75%) versus 8 of 8 (100%) for acquired cystic kidney disease-related RCC, and 7 of 13 (54%) versus 11 of 13 (85%) for oncocytoma. Regardless of histologic subtype, PAX8 staining was noted in more cells and with more intense staining than PAX2. Within the metastatic RCCs, PAX8 expression was more frequently positive than PAX2 expression (88 of 99 cases; 89%; versus 75 of 99 cases; 76%). Conclusions.-Both PAX2 and PAX8 are diagnostically useful markers for both primary and metastatic renal neoplasms of a large variety of histologic types. However, PAX8 appears to be more sensitive than PAX2 in both primary and metastatic settings. PAX8 can be included in any immunohistochemical panel for the diagnosis of primary renal neoplasms. Adding PAX2 should be optional, but this would gain limited further diagnostic yield. In a metastatic setting, both PAX8 and PAX2 can be included in a panel because a small subset of metastatic RCCs are stained only with PAX2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1541-1551
Number of pages11
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


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