There are three main types of adult kidney cancer, including renal cell carcinoma, transitional cell carcinoma and renal sarcoma, which may require a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy/biologic therapy, and/or targeted therapy.
Renal cell carcinoma: renal cell carcinoma (RCC) accounts for about 90% of kidney cancers, and arises from the lining of the small tubules of the kidney.
Subtypes and treatments of Renal Cell Carcinoma include:
- Clear cell RCC: the most common form of kidney cancer (65-75% of cases). Clear cell RCC is associated with Hippel-Lindau gene mutation in hereditary kidney cancer. Clear cell RCC can be slow-growing or fast growing. Treatments usually include surgery for early stage and immunotherapies for later stages.
- Papillary kidney cancer: is the second most common type of kidney cancer (10-15% of cases). Papillary kidney cancer is divided into Type I and Type II subtypes based on cell appearance, and is associated with Heriditary Papillary RCC and Hereditary Leiomyomatosis syndrome. Surgical removal is performed in early stages, chemotherapy and immunotherapy is used for cancer that has spread.
- Collecting duct carcinoma: is a rare form of RCC and is usually treated with chemotherapy.
- Medullary RCC: is a rare and aggressive type of kidney cancer that is associated with the sickle cell trait. Chemotherapy is usually the treatment for medullary RCC.
- Chromophobe RCC: is a rare form (5%) of kidney cancer which is sometimes associated with a specific gene mutation called Birt Hogg Dube syndrome.
- Unclassified renal cell carcinomas: are RCCs that contains more that one type of cell type and are usually characterized as aggressive cancers.
Transitional cell carcinoma: account for 5-10% of kidney cancers, and originates in the renal pelvis. If the cancer has not spread, surgical removal of the kidney and ureter is usually the treatment plan. If the tumor has metastasized, treatment options are similar to metastatic bladder cancer, which includes chemotherapy.
Renal carcinoma: is a very rare form (1%) of kidney cancer, which is treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.