Most kidney masses (or tumors) are discovered incidentally - meaning that they are found by chance during radiologic studies obtained for an unrelated medical condition.
Most solid kidney masses (or tumors) are cancerous, but fortunately, many can be cured with surgery. The most common type of kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. Each year in the United States, approximately 30,000 new cases of renal cell carcinoma are identified. A second type of kidney cancer is transitional cell cancer. This type of cancer is very similar to bladder cancer and can involve the kidney or the ureters, the tubes that empty the kidney and drain urine to the bladder. These cancers are relatively rare, affecting approximately 4,000 people in the United States each year. There are other tumors that can affect the kidney. There are other tumors that can affect the kidney, these are managed a variety of ways including surgery, non-surgical minimally invasive procedures such as embolization (blocking the blood supply to the tumor), and medical treatments.
Mayo Clinic is a world leader in the treatment of kidney cancer. Urologists at the Mayo Clinic specialize in the latest open and laparoscopic surgical techniques to treat kidney tumors. In combination with colleagues in medical oncology (hyperlink) and the cancer center (hyperlink), we offer a comprehensive and diverse option of therapies.
Our research efforts are equally important in the fight against kidney cancer. We are exploring new biologic and immunologic approaches to kidney cancer treatment. The goal of immunotherapy is to boost the body's immune system causing it to seek out and destroy kidney cancer cells. Anticancer compounds such as interleukin-2, alpha -interferon show promise in treating advanced kidney cancer that is at risk of or has already spread to distant locations outside of the kidney. The agents work by supercharging the immune system and by interfering with cell division and growth. In the, future bad genes that are discovered in cells changing to cancer may be effectively combated by adding normal genes into tumor cells to reverse their cancerous behavior. These are examples of multiple new processes that can move from research to treatment of renal cell carcinoma.
The following are summaries of recent and current research projects in kidney cancer:
© 2013 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. All rights reserved.