Kidney Cancer, or Renal Cell Carcinoma

What is Renal Cell Carcinoma?

Renal Cell Carcinoma
accounts for more than 90% of all
kidney tumors

Renal cell carcinoma, commonly called kidney cancer, is a cancer in the kidney itself.

The kidneys are two bean-shaped organs to the left and the right of the backbone that filter and clean the blood. Other tumors can develop in the kidney, but the most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. It accounts for more than 90% of all kidney tumors. More than 38,000 Americans will be diagnosed with kidney cancer this year. More than 13,000 die every year because of this type of cancer.

Treatment Options for Kidney Cancer

Patients who have been told elsewhere that their kidneys must be removed have found alternative treatment options at Fox Chase that don't always involve surgery--and almost always allow preservation of their kidney.

Surgery for Kidney Cancer

Dr. Robert Uzzo
Robert Uzzo, MD, FACS
Chairman, Department of Surgery

Fox Chase physicians have unmatched expertise treating patients with kidney cancer. They carefully examine each case to tailor a personalized treatment plan for you. Traditional kidney cancer treatment requires open surgery to remove the entire kidney, nearby adrenal gland and all surrounding tissue. Other options exist and Fox Chase Cancer Center physicians frequently recommend them, including:

Partial Nephrectomy
(Also Known as Nephron-Sparing Surgery)

Today, most kidney cancer patients have an early stage tumor that can be treated with a kidney-sparing approach. Our surgeons are among a select group of physicians in the nation who regularly perform this more specialized and complicated operation

Minimally-Invasive Surgery (Laparoscopy)

Optimized Kidney Cancer Surgery

Traditional Open Surgery

Tissue Ablation Treatments

Fox Chase Cancer Center surgeons are experienced in tissue ablation, which uses precise delivery of freezing, intense heat, or chemicals to target tumors.

Read more about Surgery for Kidney Cancer »

Newest Chemotherapy Agents and Medical Treatments

Advanced cases of kidney cancer often require more than surgery alone to achieve the best long-term results.

Fox Chase Cancer Center is a leading hospital for participation in kidney cancer treatment clinical trials.

Medical oncologists at Fox Chase are nationally recognized for their experience in caring for kidney cancer patients who are not completely treated by surgery alone. They are also nationally recognized for their contributions in the development of the newest medicines that have proven to be effective in treating advanced and metastatic kidney cancer (cancer that has spread to other parts of the body).

Radiation for Kidney Cancer

Fox Chase Cancer Center is a national leader in the use of radiation therapy to treat patients with many different types of cancer. Our radiation treatment technology is among the most sophisticated in the world. While radiation therapy is rarely used as a primary treatment for kidney cancer, external beam radiation treatment can be used for palliative therapy and for effective relief of pain or other symptoms in patients with advanced kidney cancer that has spread to the bones or other locations.

Active Surveillance
(Formerly Known as "Watchful Waiting")

At Fox Chase Cancer Center, we recognize each patient with kidney cancer is not the same. As a result, not all patients with kidney cancer are treated the same and not all patients will require or benefit from surgery.

Fox Chase Cancer Center doctors have the world's largest published experience with active surveillance of kidney cancer and have identified tumor growth kinetics (how fast the tumor is growing) as one means of determining who is a candidate for active surveillance and identifying patients who might safely avoid or defer surgery.

Optimized Treatment for Advanced Kidney Cancer

Our medical oncologists have been pivotal in the development of new medications, as new therapies for patients with advanced and metastatic kidney cancer.

National Leaders in
Kidney Cancer Research

Fox Chase doctors are national leaders in kidney cancer (renal cancer) research. Their work appears in the world's leading academic papers, academic journals, journals and books.

Ongoing research at Fox Chase Cancer Center continues to develop and refine these approaches and drug combinations. Newer approaches include:

  • Boosting the body's own immune system to combat the disease, since conventional kidney cancer chemotherapy has shown only marginal response

  • "Targeted" therapies, which focus on interfering with a cancer's ability to stimulate its own growth and proliferation

Request an Appointment

ADAPT Clinical Trial:
Phase 3 Trial of Autologous Dendritic Cell Immunotherapy (AGS-003) Plus Standard Treatment of Advanced Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)

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Dr. Alexander Kutikov explains the ADAPT Clinical Trial and how you can enroll.

Call 888-FOX-CHASE
or read more about the trial at »

Find a Clinical Trial
See National Cancer Institute information on