The enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) gene has been recently linked to human malignancies where it may serve as a new target for cancer therapy. Here, we analyzed EZH2 expression in primary renal cell carcinoma (RCC) specimens and in nontumorous tissue samples from adult kidney. EZH2 transcripts were detectable in all RCC specimens examined. Expression levels were significantly higher in tumor tissue (p < or = 0.0001) than in samples from normal adult kidney. Moreover, inhibition of endogenous EZH2 expression in RCC cell lines by RNA interference (RNAi) led to reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis in RCC cells. These data show that EZH2 is overexpressed in RCC. Furthermore, they indicate that the EZH2 gene plays a role for both the proliferation and the apoptosis resistance of RCC cells. Targeted inhibition of EZH2 could therefore represent a novel strategy to improve the therapeutic response of RCC.