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Translocation renal cell carcinoma (tRCC) is an aggressive and poorly-characterized subtype of kidney cancer driven by MiT/TFE gene fusions. Here, we define the landmarks of tRCC through an integrative analysis of 152 tRCC patients identified across multiple genomic, clinical trial, and retrospective cohorts. Most tRCCs harbor few somatic alterations apart from MiT/TFE fusions and homozygous deletions at chromosome 9p21.3 (19.2% of cases). Transcriptionally, tRCCs display a heightened NRF2-driven antioxidant response that is associated with resistance to many targeted therapies. Consistently, we find that outcomes for tRCC patients treated with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibitors (VEGFR-TKI) are worse than those treated with immune checkpoint inhibition (ICI). Multiparametric immunofluorescence confirmed the presence of CD8+ tumor-infiltrating T cells compatible with a clinical benefit from ICI and revealed an exhaustion immunophenotype distinct from clear cell RCC. Our findings comprehensively define the clinical and molecular features of tRCC and may inspire new therapeutic hypotheses.

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