Long intergenic non-coding RNA, regulator of reprogramming (LINC-ROR) is a newly identified cytoplasmic long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) implicated in cell longevity and apoptosis. We aimed in the current work for the first time to investigate the association of the expression profiles of LINC-ROR and three stem-related transcriptional factors with clinicopathological data and their impact on renal cell carcinoma (RCC) progression in a sample of RCC patients.

Material and methods:
Expression levels of LINC-ROR and stemness-related factors: SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1 were detected in 60 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissues, and their paired adjacent non-cancer tissues (n = 60) by using real-time qRT-PCR analysis. Additionally, the expression profiles were compared with the available clinicopathological features.

The genes studied were markedly up-regulated in RCC (medians and interquartile ranges were 30.3 (1.84–235.5), 10.2 (1.84–53.9), 5.39 (0.94–23.5), and 12.5 (1.61–43.2) for LINC-ROR, SOX2, NANOG, and POU5F1, respectively) relative to paired non-cancer tissue. High expression levels were associated with poor prognosis in terms of tumour undifferentiation (for LINC-ROR, SOX2, and NANOG), lymph node infiltration (for SOX2), postoperative recurrence (for LINC-ROR and SOX2), and shorter overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (for all genes studied). The best curve for OS prediction was constructed with LINC-ROR data (area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) = 0.804 at a cut-off value of 72.7, sensitivity 78.9%, and specificity 80.5%).

Collectively, aberrant LINC-ROR and pluripotent gene expression may be recognised as prognostic markers for RCC. Future functional studies are highly recommended to validate the study findings.