FXR1 expression domain in Wilms tumor.


Wilms tumor (WT) is the most common childhood kidney cancer globally. Our prior unbiased proteomic screen of WT disparities revealed increased expression of Fragile X-Related 1 (FXR1) in Kenyan specimens where survival is dismal. FXR1 is an RNA-binding protein that associates with poor outcomes in multiple adult cancers. The aim of this study therefore was to validate and characterize the FXR1 expression domain in WT.

Quantitative FXR1 gene expression was compared between WT, adjacent, adult, and fetal kidney specimens. The cellular and subcellular expression domain of FXR1 was characterized across these tissues using immunoperoxidase staining. RNA-sequencing of FXR1 was performed from WT and other pediatric malignancies to examine its broader target potential.

FXR1 was detected in all clinical WT specimens evaluated (n = 82), and as a result appeared independent of demographic, histology, or adverse event. Specific cytosolic staining was strongest in blastema, intermediate and variable in epithelia, and weakest in stroma. When present, areas of skeletal muscle differentiation stained strongly for FXR1. qPCR revealed increased FXR1 expression in WT compared to adult and adjacent kidney (p < 0.0002) but was similar to fetal kidney (p = 0.648). RNA-sequencing revealed expression of FXR1 in multiple pediatric tumors, greatest in rhabdomyosarcoma and WT.

FXR1 was expressed consistently across this broad sampling of WT and most robustly in the primitive blastema. Notably, FXR1 labeled a specific self-renewing progenitor population of the fetal kidney.

  • Correa H
  • Lovvorn HN
  • Massion PP
  • Murphy AJ
  • Phelps HM
  • Pierce JM
  • Qian J
PubMed ID
Appears In
J Pediatr Surg, 2019, 54 (6)