Kidney cancer: the new landscape

Curr Opin Urol. 2009 Mar;19(2):133-7. doi: 10.1097/MOU.0b013e328323f5ab.


Purpose of review: The approach to treatment of renal cancer has shifted dramatically from radical surgery to a current emphasis on nephron-sparing treatment. We review the changes in renal cancer presentation and our understanding of its clinical behavior that have driven this shift in treatment philosophy.

Recent findings: Renal cancer incidence has increased progressively in the USA. In Europe, incidence trends have been variable. Renal cancers are increasingly being diagnosed incidentally. Increasing utilization of abdominal imaging will likely continue this trend. Renal cancer size at presentation has decreased. Fewer cases are presenting with metastasis. Mean age at diagnosis has increased slightly. Experience with active surveillance suggests that a significant percentage of small renal masses are indolent and possess a low metastatic risk.

Summary: The presentation of renal cancer has evolved. There has been an increase in the incidence of cases in the USA and several European countries and at the same time a shift to incidentally diagnosed, smaller, localized tumors in a slightly older population. This new landscape of renal cancer patients can be offered an expanded list of treatment options, including focal therapies, with an increased treatment priority on preservation of renal function and minimization of treatment morbidity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Incidental Findings
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / pathology
  • Population Surveillance
  • United States / epidemiology