The role that stromal renal cell carcinoma (RCC) plays in support of tumor progression is unclear. Here we sought to determine the predictive value on patient survival of several markers of stromal activation and the feasibility of a fibroblast-derived extracellular matrix (ECM) based three-dimensional (3D) culture stemming from clinical specimens to recapitulate stromal behavior in vitro. The clinical relevance of selected stromal markers was assessed using a well annotated tumor microarray where stromal-marker levels of expression were evaluated and compared to patient outcomes. Also, an in vitro 3D system derived from fibroblasts harvested from patient matched normal kidney, primary RCC and metastatic tumors was employed to evaluate levels and localizations of known stromal markers such as the actin binding proteins palladin, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), fibronectin and its spliced form EDA. Results suggested that RCCs exhibiting high levels of stromal palladin correlate with a poor prognosis, as demonstrated by overall survival time. Conversely, cases of RCCs where stroma presents low levels of palladin expression indicate increased survival times and, hence, better outcomes. Fibroblast-derived 3D cultures, which facilitate the categorization of stromal RCCs into discrete progressive stromal stages, also show increased levels of expression and stress fiber localization of α-SMA and palladin, as well as topographical organization of fibronectin and its splice variant EDA. These observations are concordant with expression levels of these markers in vivo. The study proposes that palladin constitutes a useful marker of poor prognosis in non-metastatic RCCs, while in vitro 3D cultures accurately represent the specific patient's tumor-associated stromal compartment. Our observations support the belief that stromal palladin assessments have clinical relevance thus validating the use of these 3D cultures to study both progressive RCC-associated stroma and stroma-dependent mechanisms affecting tumorigenesis. The clinical value of assessing RCC stromal activation merits further study.