HomeHealth articlesrenal cell carcinomaWhat Is Translocation Renal Cell Carcinoma?

Translocation Renal Cell Carcinoma - Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

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Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) is a rare subtype of kidney cancer. Read the below article to learn more.

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan

Published At May 11, 2023
Reviewed AtFebruary 19, 2024


Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) is a rare subtype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) that accounts for less than five percent of all cases of RCC. This type of cancer is characterized by genetic abnormalities in the form of chromosomal translocations, which result in the fusion of genes and the subsequent production of abnormal proteins. In 2004, it was identified as a form of kidney cancer that typically has a slow growth rate and does not commonly present symptoms in patients.

TRCC was first described in 2004 and has since been recognized as a distinct entity within the family of RCC. It typically affects children and younger individuals. It is more common in men than women, and often presents as a solitary mass in one kidney.

What Is the Difference Between Renal Cell Carcinoma and Translocation Renal Cell Carcinoma (TRCC)?

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is a type of kidney cancer that develops in the cells lining the small tubes in the kidney that filter waste and fluids from the blood. RCC is the most common type of kidney cancer, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of all kidney cancer cases. It can be further classified into different subtypes based on the appearance of the tumor cells under a microscope and genetic characteristics.

Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) is a rare subtype of RCC that is characterized by a specific chromosomal abnormality. In TRCC, there is a genetic rearrangement involving the TFE3 gene that causes the gene to fuse with another gene and produce an abnormal protein. This protein promotes the growth and division of cancer cells, leading to the development of TRCC.

What Is the Cause?

Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) is characterized by chromosomal abnormalities where the structure of chromosomes is disrupted, resulting in improper functioning of cells. In TRCC, a specific gene known as TFE3 undergoes a break and rearrangement, and the detection of this particular chromosomal change is used by doctors to confirm the diagnosis of translocation renal cell carcinoma.

How to Diagnose It?

Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) can be diagnosed using various techniques that include:

  • Imaging tests such as CT scans, MRI, or ultrasound, to identify the presence of a tumor in the kidney and to evaluate its size and location.

  • Biopsy, which involves taking a small sample of the tumor tissue and examining it under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis of TRCC.

  • Molecular testing to look for specific chromosomal abnormalities associated with TRCC, such as the rearrangement of the TFE3 gene.

  • Blood and urine tests to evaluate kidney function and detect any abnormal levels of certain substances, such as protein or blood cells, which may be indicative of TRCC or other kidney problems.

The diagnosis of TRCC usually involves a combination of these methods to accurately confirm the presence of this specific type of kidney cancer.

What Are the Symptoms?

Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) usually does not cause any symptoms in its early stages. As the tumor grows, some common symptoms may include:

  • Blood in the urine.

  • Pain or discomfort in the back or side of the body.

  • A mass or lump felt in the abdomen or side.

  • Fatigue or weakness.

  • Unintended weight loss.

  • Fever.

  • High blood pressure.

What Is the Prognosis?

Prognosis refers to the anticipated long-term impact of a disease on an individual, which can vary depending on various factors including the location of the tumor in the body, the extent of cancer spread to other body parts, and the extent of tumor removal during surgery. As each person's situation is unique, the prognosis may differ based on individual circumstances.

To determine the survival rates of individuals with translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC), doctors evaluate the outcomes of groups of patients who had the condition in the past. However, due to the limited number of TRCC cases, these estimates may not be very precise. Typically, children diagnosed with TRCC have a more favorable prognosis compared to adults. It is crucial for patients to continue receiving medical care and monitoring even after treatment, as TRCC can spread to other areas of the body many years after the initial diagnosis.

What Is the Treatment of TRCC?

Treatment for translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) typically depends on the stage and extent of the cancer, as well as the individual's overall health. Some common treatment options include:

  • Surgery: Surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding tissue may be recommended in early-stage TRCC cases.

  • Radiation Therapy: High-energy radiation is used to destroy cancer cells and may be recommended after surgery to remove any remaining cancer cells.

  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is generally not very effective for treating TRCC, however it may be administered in some circumstances to reduce symptoms or limit the growth of the tumor.

  • Targeted Therapy: This type of treatment uses drugs that specifically target and attack cancer cells, minimizing damage to healthy cells. Targeted therapy is often used to treat advanced-stage TRCC.

  • Clinical Trials: New treatments and medications for TRCC may be available through clinical trials, which involve testing new therapies and drugs to determine their effectiveness and safety.

What Is the Survival Rate?

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the overall five-year survival rate for patients with advanced-stage TRCC was about 51%, which is higher than the survival rates for other types of kidney cancer. However, it is important to note that survival rates can vary widely depending on individual circumstances, and it is important for patients to discuss their prognosis and treatment options with their healthcare provider.


In conclusion, Translocation renal cell carcinoma (TRCC) is a rare subtype of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) that is characterized by specific chromosomal abnormalities. TRCC typically affects children and younger individuals and presents as a solitary mass in one kidney. While TRCC is generally slow-growing and may not present symptoms in its early stages, it can spread to other areas of the body many years after the initial diagnosis. The diagnosis of TRCC usually involves a combination of imaging tests, biopsies, molecular testing, and blood and urine tests. Treatment options for TRCC may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and clinical trials.

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Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan
Dr. Abdul Aziz Khan

Medical oncology


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