Renal cancer

Crit Rev Oncol Hematol. 2007 Dec;64(3):247-62. doi: 10.1016/j.critrevonc.2007.04.007. Epub 2007 Jul 26.


In Europe, renal cancer (that is neoplasia of the kidney, renal pelvis or ureter (ICD-9 189 and ICD-10 C64-C66)) ranks as the seventh most common malignancy in men amongst whom there are 29,600 new cases each year (3.5% of all cancers). Tobacco, obesity and a diet poor in vegetables are all acknowledged risk factors, along with specific occupational and environmental factors. A familial history of renal carcinoma is also likely to increase the risk. Renal carcinoma may remain clinically occult for most of its course. The classic presentation of pain, haematuria, and flank mass occurs in only 9% of patients and is often indicative of advanced disease. Approximately 30% of patients with renal carcinoma present with metastatic disease, 25% with locally advanced renal carcinoma and 45% with localized disease. Metastases are typically found in the lung, soft tissue, bone, liver, cutaneous sites, and central nervous system. The most important staging technique is a computed tomography (CT) scan of the whole abdomen. Survival rates are more favourable for patients with tumours confined to the kidney. Five-year survival for patients with metastatic renal carcinoma is comprised between 0 and 20%. Radical nephrectomy is the standard intervention for renal cancer. Intrinsic resistance to chemotherapy has long been a hallmark of renal carcinoma. Limited options are available for the systemic therapy, and no chemotherapeutic regimen is accepted as a standard of care. Biologic agents represent the major effective therapies for widespread metastatic renal cancer. An antiangiogenic strategy, the neutralization of VEGF, can slow the growth rate of advanced cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis