Kidney Cancer

Diseases / Research

Kidney Cancer

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) with morphologic phenotype overlapping between three major tumor subtypes - clear cell, chromophobe and papillary RCC.

Maria Tretiakova, MD, PhD

Fred Hutch scientists are researching methods to treat and even prevent forms of kidney cancer through the use  various forms of chemotherapy, radiation and by training the body’s own immune system — a field of medical research known as immunotherapy — to fight tumors.

Fast Facts

  • Each year, there are more than 63,000 new cases of kidney cancer in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute.
  • The most common form of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma (RCC), which forms in the lining of the small tubes that filter blood, although there are several subtypes of RCC. Other forms of kidney cancer include renal pelvis carcinoma, which forms in the center of the kidney where urine collects, and Wilms tumor, which develops in children younger than age 5. See our Wilms tumor disease page for more information on our research.
  • Kidney cancer is most commonly detected through ultrasound, CT scans, MRIs and PET scans, as well as urinalysis and blood tests. A biopsy may be ordered if there is a strong clinical suspicious.

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Prevention & Causes

Exercise curbs risk - Large, multinational study shows study shows that exercise reduced risk for kidney cancer. According to Anne McTiernan, despite the evidence showing the benefits of exercise, half the population of the U.S. does not meet the recommended physical activity levels.  Read more >

Evidence that obesity is linked to kidney cancer risk - Cancer prevention expert, Dr. Ann McTiernan, participated in an international panel of scientist that conducted a systemic literature review on the association between nutrition, obesity and kidney cancer.  Learn more >

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Prognosis & Treatment

Portion of a genomic overview of an FFPE-CGAT sample using OncoScan

Courtesy of Min Fang, MD, PhD

Finding genomic signatures to guide personalized immunotherapy plans - Under the leadership of Drs. Min Fang and Maria Tretiakova, Fred Hutch’s treatment arm, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, launched OncoScan for use in kidney cancer. This tumor genome–scanning technology is used to determine whether the specific chromosomal abnormalities commonly found in kidney cancers are linked to patients’ outcomes after treatment with immunotherapies. Learn more >

Effective use of immunotherapies - Dr. Edus Houston Warren is working to understand how immune-based therapy can trigger regression or elimination of kidney cancer. Recent studies involve using a patient's own T-cells that have been genetically-engineered to recognize kidney cancer cells. Learn more >

Leading-edge therapies for renal cell carcinoma - Dr. Scott Tykodi has several clinical trials open evaluating the effectiveness of various forms of immunotherapy and targeted therapy for advance and metastatic renal cell carcinoma. Find a trial >

Combining high-dose radiation therapy with immunotherapy - Dr. Ramesh Rengan leads clinical trials focused on combining radiation therapy given over a short period of time with various forms of monoclonal antibodies to kill more cancer cells with fewer side effects. Learn more >

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