The authors present a literature review on the role of biological investigations in human renal cell carcinoma. They show the current knowledge about the prognostic significance of oncogenes (with particular attention to the suppressor gene p53), proliferation indexes, adhesion molecules and morphometric features in this field. Their personal experience is also reported. They conclude that, although molecular biology investigations have led to a better understanding of renal cancer development, a clear prognostic value of this marker has not been defined yet. Studies should be undertaken to ascertain the clinical applications of those parameters that seem better able to predict the risk of tumoral progression, such as the proliferation rate and the morphometric grade.
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