Deregulation of apoptosis plays an important role in carcinogenesis, tumor progression, and resistance to chemotherapy. XIAP is considered to be the most potent caspase inhibitor of all known IAP (inhibitor of apoptosis) family members. To explore the relevance of XIAP for progression and prognosis in renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) of the clear-cell type, we analyzed XIAP protein expression in formalin-fixed tissue from 145 clear-cell RCCs by immunohistochemistry. XIAP protein expression was found in 95% of clear-cell RCCs. A significant increase of XIAP expression became evident from well (G1) to poorly (G3) differentiated clear-cell RCCs (P < 0.0001) and from low (pT1) to advanced (pT3) tumor stages (P = 0.0016). Log-rank test showed a significant inverse correlation (P = 0.0174) between XIAP expression and tumor aggressiveness as indicated by patients' survival. Most important, multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that XIAP expression is an independent prognostic parameter (P = 0.018) in clear-cell RCCs. Our results suggest an important role for XIAP-mediated inhibition of apoptosis during progression of clear-cell RCCs and introduce XIAP expression as a new independent prognostic marker in this tumor type.