RCC101: What is RCC?

Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most common type of kidney cancer.1

Worldwide, an estimated 337,000 people are diagnosed with kidney cancer each year.
Americans and Europeans account for roughly 55% of all cases.2

RCC makes up about 90% of all kidney cancers. There are three main types of RCC:1

  • Clear cell RCC makes up approximately 80% of RCCs, aptly called for its clear-looking cancer cells.1,2
  • Papillary RCC makes up about 13% of RCCs. It’s distinguished by the way cancer cells grow within the tumour.2,3
  • Chromophobe RCC makes up about 8% of RCCs. They are noted for cancer cells that look largely empty under the microscope.2,3

As the most common type of RCC, clear cell RCC is perhaps the most studied – both in clinical trials and in genetic studies. This has led to more treatments indicated fro clear cell RCC than for other types of RCC.2

In terms of how the condition progresses, chromophobe RCC tends to be associated with the lowest risk for spreading and becoming metastatic.2


To learn more:

Risk factors



References: 1. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN guidelines: Kidney cancer version 3.2016. Available at: https://www.nccn.org. Accessed on August 11, 2016. 2. Jonasch E, et al. BMJ 2014;349:g4797. 3. UpToDate. Epidemiology, pathology, and pathogenesis of renal cell carcinoma. Available at http://www.uptodate.com. Accessed on August 22, 2016. 

Last updated: September 17, 2016.
Photo adapted from original by ben alexander, used under license.

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