Kaempferol has been shown to inhibit cell growth, induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in several tumors, but not in renal cell carcinoma (RCC). In the present study, we investigated the effects of kaempferol and the underlying mechanism(s) on the cell growth of RCC cells. MTT assay and colony formation assay were used to study cell growth, and flow cytometry was used to study apoptosis and cell cycles in different RCC cells treated with various doses of kaempferol. A significant inhibition on cell growth, induction of apoptosis and cell cycle arrest were observed in 786-O and 769-P cells after kaempferol treatment compared with the control group. Moreover, the results clearly showed that kaempferol causes a strong inhibition of the activation of the EGFR/p38 signaling pathways, upregulation of p21 expression and downregulation of cyclin B1 expression in human RCC cells, together with activation of PARP cleavages, induction of apoptotic death and inhibition of cell growth. Collectively, our results suggest that kaempferol may serve as a candidate for chemo-preventive or chemotherapeutic agents for RCC.