Journal Article

Decrease of mitochondrial DNA content and energy metabolism in renal cell carcinoma

David Meierhofer, Johannes A. Mayr, Ulrike Foetschl, Alexandra Berger, Klaus Fink, Nikolaus Schmeller, Gerhard W. Hacker, Cornelia Hauser-Kronberger, Barbara Kofler and Wolfgang Sperl

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 25, issue 6, pages 1005-1010
Published in print June 2004 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online June 2004 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Decrease of mitochondrial DNA content and energy metabolism in renal cell carcinoma

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  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


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To elucidate the relationship between tumorgenesis and the mitochondrial energy metabolism in renal neoplasms, we studied three individual enzyme activities of the oxidative phosphorylation, two components of the Krebs cycle and the mitochondrial DNA content of renal carcinomas including 29 conventional, five papillary, two unclassified carcinomas with sarcomatoid features and one collecting duct carcinoma. A significant reduction of all mitochondrial enzyme activities including complex V, as well as of the mitochondrial DNA content was detected in 34 of 37 renal carcinoma tissues as compared with control kidney. Mitochondrial enzyme activities and mitochondrial DNA levels were not statistically different between the conventional, papillary and unclassified sarcomatoid type of renal carcinoma and did not correlate with tumour grade, metastasis, ploidy and proliferative activity as determined by Ki-67 staining. Taken together, our data indicate that a co-ordinated down-regulation of all components necessary for mitochondrial energy metabolism occurs in most renal carcinomas as an early event in carcinoma formation, which does not change with progression of the disease.

Keywords: COX, cytochrome c oxidase; m/r ratio, relative ratio of mitochondrial DNA to 18S rDNA; OXPHOS, oxidative phosphorylation

Journal Article.  4460 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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