In addition to the known risk factors for renal cell carcinoma, hypertension, obesity, and tobacco use, a diet high in consumption of fried or sautéed meat and the frequent consumption of poultry may increase the risk for renal cell carcinoma. A diet high in consumption of fruits and vegetables appears to have a protective effect. Molecular markers, in particular markers of cell proliferation, may have prognostic value and be of assistance in identifying patients who would benefit from more aggressive therapy. Surgery continues to the mainstay of treatment of localized disease, and may be the optimal treatment for patients with isolated solitary metastatic disease. Response rates to systemic therapy with cytokines vary from 5% to 20% with significant adverse effects.