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Renal Cell Cancer

The most common type of kidney cancer. It begins in the lining of the renal tubules in the kidney. The renal tubules filter the blood and produce urine.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Renal Cell Cancer

Renal cell cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in tubules of the kidney.

Renal cell cancer (also called kidney cancer or renal adenocarcinoma) is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells are found in the lining of tubules (very small tubes) in the kidney. There are 2 kidneys, one on each side of the backbone, above the waist. The tiny tubules in the kidneys filter and clean the blood, taking out waste products and making urine. The urine passes from each kidney into the bladder through a long tube called a ureter. The bladder stores the urine until it is passed from the body.

Cancer that starts in the ureters or the renal pelvis (the part of the kidney that collects urine and drains it to the ureters) is different from renal cell cancer. (See the PDQ summary about Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter Treatment for more information)... Read more about Renal Cell Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Venous Thromboembolism: Reducing the Risk of Venous Thromboembolism (Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism) in Patients Admitted to Hospital

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a term used to include the formation of a blood clot (a thrombus) in a vein which may dislodge from its site of origin to travel in the blood, a phenomenon called embolism. A thrombus most commonly occurs in the deep veins of the legs; this is called deep vein thrombosis. A dislodged thrombus that travels to the lungs is known as a pulmonary embolism.

Surgical management of localised renal cell carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) is the third most common urological cancer; most commonly detected on abdominal scans or presents with blood in urine, abdominal lump and or pain. Surgical removal remains the only curative option in the localised disease as this tumour is resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There have been significant improvements in the surgical technology in the recent years, in particular, the introduction of laparoscopic (key hole surgery) and other minimally invasive techniques such as radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy. The aim of this review was to find out the status of evidence for the use of various surgical treatment options in the management of renal cell carcinoma. Very few good quality studies were found that could be included in this review. There were no randomised controlled trials which compared the results of open surgery to laparoscopic approaches, radiofrequency ablation or cryotherapy. The small studies comparing different laparoscopic approaches (from in front ‐ transperitoneal, or from back ‐ retroperitoneal) found no benefits or disadvantages between the two approaches.

CT differentiation of renal angiomyolipoma with minimal fat and renal cell carcinoma: a systematic review

Bibliographic details: Zhou H Y, Hu Y J, Liu R B, Shang L, Yin W J.  CT differentiation of renal angiomyolipoma with minimal fat and renal cell carcinoma: a systematic review. Chinese Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine 2009; 9(6): 640-645

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Summaries for consumers

Renal Cell Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of renal cell cancer.

Surgical management of localised renal cell carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) is the third most common urological cancer; most commonly detected on abdominal scans or presents with blood in urine, abdominal lump and or pain. Surgical removal remains the only curative option in the localised disease as this tumour is resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. There have been significant improvements in the surgical technology in the recent years, in particular, the introduction of laparoscopic (key hole surgery) and other minimally invasive techniques such as radiofrequency ablation and cryotherapy. The aim of this review was to find out the status of evidence for the use of various surgical treatment options in the management of renal cell carcinoma. Very few good quality studies were found that could be included in this review. There were no randomised controlled trials which compared the results of open surgery to laparoscopic approaches, radiofrequency ablation or cryotherapy. The small studies comparing different laparoscopic approaches (from in front ‐ transperitoneal, or from back ‐ retroperitoneal) found no benefits or disadvantages between the two approaches.

Transitional Cell Cancer of the Renal Pelvis and Ureter Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of renal pelvis and ureter transitional cell cancer.

See all (30)

Terms to know

Carcinoma
Carcinoma is a cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.
Kidney
One of a pair of organs in the abdomen. The kidneys remove waste and extra water from the blood (as urine) and help keep chemicals (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium) balanced in the body. The kidneys also make hormones that help control blood pressure and stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells.
Nephrons
A tiny part of the kidneys. Each kidney is made up of about 1 million nephrons, which are the working units of the kidneys, removing wastes and extra fluids from the blood.
Renal Pelvis
The area at the center of the kidney. Urine collects here and is funneled into the ureter, the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder.
Renal Tubules
The last part of a long, twisting tube that collects urine from the nephrons (cellular structures in the kidney that filter blood and form urine) and moves it into the renal pelvis and ureters. Also called collecting duct.
Ureter
The tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

More about Renal Cell Cancer

Photo of an adult

Also called: Grawitz tumour, Renal cell adenocarcinoma, Renal cell carcinoma, Grawitz tumor, Hypernephroma, RCC

Other terms to know: See all 6
Carcinoma, Kidney, Nephrons

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