Of the 103 patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma 31 (30%) developed symptomatic radiologically confirmed skeletal metastases. These were typically lytic, predominantly affecting the axial skeleton and associated with considerable skeletal morbidity. Solitary bone lesions occurred in 14 (45%) of patients. The median survival of patients with bone metastases was 12 months. Hypercalcaemia was common in patients both with (29%) and without (44%) bone metastases. The number and rate of skeletal related events was similar to that seen from bone metastases from breast cancer. It would therefore be appropriate to evaluate the effectiveness of bisphosphonate treatment for reducing skeletal morbidity in advanced renal cell cancer with bone metastases.