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Renal-cell Carcinoma


by Arno Housman, MD

Renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) refers specifically to primary, generally solid tumors arising from the renal cortex (as opposed to those arising from the urothelium of the collecting system).

These tumors actually reflect a diverse collection of lesions of varying histologic origin and different biologic potential and represent 80%–85% of primary renal tumors.The most common solid tumor of the kidney is clear-cell carcinoma, representing ~75% of all RCCs.This type of tumor arises from proximal tubular cells and is most commonly associated with a chromosome-3p deletion.

Other histological cell types of RCC include papillary tumors (~15%–20%) that may arise from the epithelium of the proximal tubule, and chromophobe tumors (~5%) that may arise from the distal nephron.

Further differentiation of cell types is determined by morphology and, possibly, immunohistochemical markers and cytogenetic and molecular genetic analysis. Some 3%–5% of RCCs may remain unclassified.

Read the full Renal-cell Carcinoma InBrief for information on:

  • Stages, tumor status, and tumor characteristics

  • Signs and Symptoms

  • Causes and Risk Factors

  • Treatment Options

  • Prognosis

  • and Pearls to Know

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Arno Housman, MD

Dr. Housman graduated from SUNY Downstate Medical Center School of Medicine (now known as SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University), 1980. He stayed on at that institution training in General Surgery before transferring from Brooklyn, New York to New Haven Connecticut where he completed his training in Urology at Yale New Haven Hospital in December of 1986.

While in private practice since January of 1987 Dr. Housman maintained an active interest in medical education and was one of the founding members of his hospital’s Family Practice residency program.


  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Kidney cancer: stages. Web site. October 2020. Accessed March 15, 2021.

  • Broderick JM. Where are we at in 2020 with non-clear cell RCC? Urology Times Web site. November 17, 2020. Accessed March 15, 2021.

  • Cairns P. Renal cell carcinoma. Cancer Biomark. 2011;9:461-473.

  • Chow WH, Dong LM, Devesa SS. Epidemiology and risk factors for kidney cancer. Nat Rev Urol. 2010;7:245-257.

  • Escudier B, Porta C, Schmidinger M, et al.  Renal cell carcinoma: ESMO clinical practice guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up.Ann Oncol. 2019;30:706-720.

  • Gray R, Harris G. Renal carcinoma: diagnosis and management. Am Fam Physician. 2019;99:179-184.

  • Presti JC Jr, Rao PH, Chen Q, et al. Histopathological, cytogenetic, and molecular characterization of renal cortical tumors. Cancer Res. 1991;51:1544-1552.

  • Störkel S, van den Berg E. Morphological classification of renal cancer. World J Urol. 1995;13:153-158.

  • Thoenes W, Störkel S, Rumpelt HJ. Histopathology and classification of renal cell tumors (adenomas, oncocytomas and carcinomas). The basic cytological and histopathological elements and their use for diagnostics. Pathol Res Pract. 1986;181:125-143.



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