Claudin-7 has recently been suggested to be a distal nephron marker. We tested the possibility that expression of claudin-7 could be used as a marker of renal tumors originating from the distal nephron. We examined the immunohistochemical expression of claudin-7 and parvalbumin in 239 renal tumors, including 179 clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC)s, 29 papillary RCCs, 20 chromophobe RCCs, and 11 renal oncocytomas. In addition, the methylation specific-PCR (MSP) of claudin-7 was performed. Claudin-7 and parvalbumin immunostains were positive in 3.4%, 7.8% of clear cell RCCs, 34.5%, 31.0% of papillary RCCs, 95.0%, 80.0% of chromophobe RCCs, and 72.7%, 81.8% of renal oncocytomas, respectively. The sensitivity and specificity of claudin-7 in diagnosing chromophobe RCC among subtypes of RCC were 95.0% and 92.3%. Those of parvalbumin were 80.0% and 88.9%. The expression pattern of claudin-7 was mostly diffuse in chromophobe RCC and was either focal or diffuse in oncocytoma. All of the cases examined in the MSP revealed the presence of unmethylated promoter of claudin-7 without regard to claudin-7 immunoreactivity. Hypermethylation of the promoter might not be the underlying mechanism for loss of its expression in RCC. Claudin-7 can be used as a useful diagnostic marker in diagnosing chromophobe RCC and oncocytoma.
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