As an international leader in kidney cancer research, Mayo Clinic researchers follow up on clinical outcomes and conduct research on all stages of kidney disease, to improve surgical techniques and the treatment of advanced disease with novel drug therapies. Eligible patients have a chance to enroll in clinical trials of Mayo and the National Cancer Institute to try the latest treatment innovations.

Benefits of surgery for late-stage cancer

Mayo Clinic researchers found that surgery significantly increased life expectancy for many patients with late-stage kidney cancer. Renal cell carcinoma patients who had surgery to completely remove secondary tumor growth, called metastases, had significantly improved survival compared with patients with metastases who did not have the surgery. This research confirms the importance of complete removal of the metastases, when possible, to prolong life.

Another Mayo study will evaluate the interaction of surgery and drugs to determine if the combination increases survival even more in people with late-stage kidney cancer whose cancer has spread.

Mayo Clinic research resources

Kidney cancer research is conducted in coordination with Mayo Clinic Cancer Center. The Mayo Clinic Cancer Center receives funding from the National Cancer Institute and is designated as a comprehensive cancer center — recognition for an institution's scientific excellence and multidisciplinary resources focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The Mayo Clinic Biobank database, one of the largest in the world, provides samples for studies on kidney cancer and other diseases. The Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy Program of the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center studies the mechanisms involved in cancer development and how the immune system responds to cancer. The program also develops and tests immune therapies for cancer patients.


See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic authors on kidney cancer on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Research Profiles

Aug. 15, 2017
  1. NCCN Guidelines Version 2.2017: Kidney cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2016.
  2. Atkins MG. Clinical manifestations, evaluation, and staging of renal cell carcinoma. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  3. American Cancer Society. What is kidney cancer? Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  4. American Cancer Society. Causes, risk factors, and prevention. Accessed Feb 8, 2017.
  5. Ho TH, et al. Genetic kidney cancer syndromes. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2014;12:1347.
  6. Fay AP, et al. Whole-exome sequencing in two extreme phenotypes of response to VEGF-targeted therapies in patients with metastatic clear cell renal carcinoma. Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. 2016;14:820.
  7. Drugs approved for kidney (renal cell) cancer. National Cancer Institute. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  8. Kardos SV, et al. Association of type of renal surgery and access to robotic technology for kidney cancer: Results from a population-based cohort. BJU International. 2014;114:549.
  9. George S, et al. Safety and efficacy of nivolumab in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma treated beyond progression: A subgroup analysis of a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Oncology. 2016;2:1179.
  10. Atkins MG. Overview of the treatment of renal cell carcinoma. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  11. American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about kidney cancer? Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  12. American Cancer Society. Kidney cancer: Early detection, diagnosis, and staging. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  13. American Cancer Society. Treating kidney cancer. Accessed Feb. 8, 2017.
  14. Ho, TH (expert answer). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, Ariz. Feb. 11, 2017.
  15. National Institutes of Health. NIH clinical research trials and you. Accessed March 13, 2017.
  16. Leibovich, BC (expert answer). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. May 30, 2017.
  17. Richie JP, et al. Role of surgery in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Accessed March 16, 2017.