Over the last several decades, the advances in molecular genetics have elucidated kidney cancer gene pathways. Kidney cancer is a heterogeneous disorder. Each specific type of kidney cancer has its own histologic features, gene, and clinical course. Insight into the genetic basis of kidney cancer has been learned largely from the study of the familial or hereditary forms of kidney cancer. Extirpative surgery is currently the treatment of choice for kidney cancer that is confined to the kidney. Treatment for advanced or metastatic kidney cancer is a formidable challenge with the traditional therapies currently available. However, investigation of the Mendelian single-gene syndromes, like von Hippel Lindau (VHL: VHL gene), hereditary papillary renal carcinoma (HPRC: c-Met gene), Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD: BHD gene), and hereditary leiomyomatosis renal cell cancer (HLRCC: fumarate hydratase gene) provides an opportunity to develop pathway specific therapies. Advances in molecular therapeutics offer novel treatment options for patients with advanced disease.