Approximately 70%-80% of kidney cancers are clear cell renal cell carcinomas (CCRCCs). Patient management is based on imaging (abdominal ultrasound and computerized tomography), surgical excision of the tumor, and pathological analysis. A tissue biopsy is therefore necessary to confirm the diagnosis and avoid unnecessary nephrectomy. For metastatic cancers, a tissue biopsy is essential for establishing the targeted therapy. This biopsy of tumor material is invasive and painful. Other techniques such as liquid biopsy would help reduce the need for tissue biopsy. The development of a simple biological test for diagnosis is essential. CA9 is a powerful marker for the diagnosis of CCRCC. Exosomes have become a major source of liquid biopsy because they carry tumor proteins, RNA, and lipids. Urine is the most convenient biological liquid for exosome sampling.
The aim of this study (PEP-C study) is mainly to determine whether it is possible to detect urinary exosomal CA9 for the molecular diagnosis of CCRCC.
This study will include 60 patients with CCRCC and 40 noncancer patients. Exosomes will be isolated from urine samples and exosomal CA9 will be detected by transmission electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
This study is currently underway with funding support from the CHU Saint-Etienne of France.
We expect to demonstrate that urinary tumor exosomes could be a novel liquid biopsy to diagnose CCRCC and to guide clinicians in treatment decision-making. NCT04053855;

©Guorong Li, Nora Mallouk, Pascale Flandrin, Arnauld Garcin, Claude Lambert, Sid Ali Berremila, Hocine Habchi, Nicolas Mottet. Originally published in JMIR Research Protocols (, 20.07.2021.