Abnormal cholesterol metabolism in renal clear cell carcinoma

R. L. Gebhard, R. V. Clayman, W. F. Prigge, R. Figenshau, N. A. Staley, C. Reesey, A. Bear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


The clear cell form of renal cell carcinoma is known to derive its histologic appearance from accumulations of glycogen and lipid. We have found that the most consistently stored lipid form is cholesteryl ester. Clear cell cancer tissue contained 8-fold more total cholesterol and 35-fold more esterified cholesterol than found in normal kidney. Cholesteryl ester appeared to be formed intracellularly since it was not membrane-bound and since oleate was the predominant form, as opposed to linoleate in lipoprotein cholesteryl esters. The cholesterol in clear cell tumors did not appear to be a result of excessive synthesis from acetate since HMG-CoA reductase (EC activity was lower in cancer tissue than in normal kidney (2.9 ± 0.8 vs. 7.2 ± 1.2 pmol/mg of protein per min). In contrast, intracellular activity of fatty acyl-coenzyme A:cholesterol acyl transferase (ACAT, EC was higher in tumor tissue than in normal kidney (2405 ± 546 vs. 1326 ± 301 pmol/mg of protein per 20 min) while cytosolic cholesteryl ester hydrolase activity appeared normal. Cholesteryl ester storage in clear cell renal cancer may be a result of a primary abnormality in ACAT activity or it may be a result of reduced release of free cholesterol (relative to cell content) with a secondary elevation in ACAT activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1177-1184
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of lipid research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1987


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