Experimental and computational modeling for signature and biomarker discovery of renal cell carcinoma progression

Lindsay S. Cooley, Justine Rudewicz, Wilfried Souleyreau, Andrea Emanuelli, Arturo Alvarez-Arenas, Kim Clarke, Francesco Falciani, Maeva Dufies, Diether Lambrechts, Elodie Modave, Domitille Chalopin-Fillot, Raphael Pineau, Damien Ambrosetti, Jean Christophe Bernhard, Alain Ravaud, Sylvie Négrier, Jean Marc Ferrero, Gilles Pagès, Sebastien Benzekry, Macha NikolskiAndreas Bikfalvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) is difficult to treat with 5-year survival rate of 10% in metastatic patients. Main reasons of therapy failure are lack of validated biomarkers and scarce knowledge of the biological processes occurring during RCC progression. Thus, the investigation of mechanisms regulating RCC progression is fundamental to improve RCC therapy. Methods: In order to identify molecular markers and gene processes involved in the steps of RCC progression, we generated several cell lines of higher aggressiveness by serially passaging mouse renal cancer RENCA cells in mice and, concomitantly, performed functional genomics analysis of the cells. Multiple cell lines depicting the major steps of tumor progression (including primary tumor growth, survival in the blood circulation and metastatic spread) were generated and analyzed by large-scale transcriptome, genome and methylome analyses. Furthermore, we performed clinical correlations of our datasets. Finally we conducted a computational analysis for predicting the time to relapse based on our molecular data. Results: Through in vivo passaging, RENCA cells showed increased aggressiveness by reducing mice survival, enhancing primary tumor growth and lung metastases formation. In addition, transcriptome and methylome analyses showed distinct clustering of the cell lines without genomic variation. Distinct signatures of tumor aggressiveness were revealed and validated in different patient cohorts. In particular, we identified SAA2 and CFB as soluble prognostic and predictive biomarkers of the therapeutic response. Machine learning and mathematical modeling confirmed the importance of CFB and SAA2 together, which had the highest impact on distant metastasis-free survival. From these data sets, a computational model predicting tumor progression and relapse was developed and validated. These results are of great translational significance. Conclusion: A combination of experimental and mathematical modeling was able to generate meaningful data for the prediction of the clinical evolution of RCC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number136
JournalMolecular Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - 20 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • CFB
  • Computational model
  • Metastasis
  • Prognostic markers renal cell carcinoma
  • SAA2
  • Systems biology approach
  • Tumor model


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