Kidney cancer. Principles and practice. Second edition. Primo N. Lara, Jr. Eric Jonasch (Editors). Springer International Publishing (2015)

Renal cell carcinoma represents 4% of all adult malignancies [1], and after prostate and bladder cancer, it is the third most common urologic tumor. The incidence of renal cell carcinoma varies substantially worldwide, with the developing countries having a higher incidence and mortality as compared to developing countries [2]. The cumulative risk of renal cell carcinoma is 1.06% in developed countries and 0.3% in developing countries [3]. In the United States (USA), it is estimated that 63,920 new cases of kidney and renal pelvis tumors were diagnosed in 2014 and approximately 13,860 would die of this disease [4]. It is the sixth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer diagnosed in women in the United States [5].

Clear cell carcinoma of the kidney is the most predominant histological subtype derived from renal tubular cells. Other histopathological subtypes include the papillary, chromophobe, medullary, collecting duct, and spindle cell subtypes, among others. RCC presents in a sporadic or hereditary form, with the sporadic type occurring in the fifth decade or later in life and the hereditary form occurring in much younger patients.

Recently, a rising incidence of RCC has been noted and attributed to the increase in number of incidental tumors diagnosed as a result of more advanced imaging modalities such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that are now available. These incidental tumors are more likely to be smaller in size and localized to the kidney. According to the SEER 9 Incidence and Mortality Data from 1975 to 2011, the overall survival from RCC has also increased, with the 5-year relative survival rates increased from 52.1% in 1975 to 73.5% in 2006 [6]. These improved survival rates also indicate the advances in the management of RCC in the past two decades with introduction of improved surgical techniques and systemic therapies for these patients.

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