BackgroundLong noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are involved in the tumorigenesis and progression of human cancers, including renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Small nucleolar RNA host gene 4 (SNHG4) is reported to play an essential role in tumor growth and progression. However, the molecular mechanisms and function of SNHG4 in RCC remain undocumented.MethodsQuantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was performed to examine expression levels of SNHG4 in RCC tissue samples and cell lines. Cell counting kit-8, western blotting, activities of caspase-3, -8, and -9, wound-healing, and transwell invasion assays were performed to explore cell proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and invasion. The interaction among SNHG4, miR-204-5p, and RUNX2 was verified by bioinformatic analysis, a luciferase gene report, qRT-PCR, western blot analysis, and RNA immunoprecipitation assays. Xenograft mouse models were carried out to examine the role of SNHG4 in RCC in vivo.ResultsSNHG4 was highly expressed in RCC tissue samples and cell lines, and its upregulation was significantly involved in node involvement, distant metastasis, and reduced overall and relapse-free survival of patients with RCC. SNHG4 acted as an oncogenic lncRNA with promoted RCC cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and inhibited apoptosis. SNHG4 boosted tumor growth in xenograft mouse models. Mechanistically, SNHG4 functioned as a competing endogenous RNA (ceRNA) for sponging miR-204-5p, leading to the upregulation of its target RUNX2 to promote RCC cell proliferation and invasion.ConclusionSNHG4 and miR-204-5p might be indicated in RCC progression via RUNX2, suggesting the potential use of SNHG4/miR-204-5p/RUNX2 axis in RCC treatment.