Recurrence occurs when cancer comes back after surgery, or after a period of time being cancer-free. For people with clear cell renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the most common type of kidney cancer, the recurrent cancer can spread and develop into metastatic disease, despite treatment.
A new study from researchers at Columbia University in the USA and published in the journal Cell shows how the presence of a rare type of immune cell in kidney tumours can predict which patients will experience recurrent cancer.
By analysing the genes from 200,000 kidney cancer tumour cells and and normal cells using an algorithm called meta-VIPER, the researchers identified a unique subpopulation of immune cells found only in tumours that eventually relapsed after initial treatment.
The VIPER analysis uncovered the top genes that control the activity of these immune cells and was validated in over 150 patients to predict recurrence.