What are the Most Common Types of Kidney Cancer?

Kidney cancer, a significant health condition, originates in the kidneys — vital organs responsible for filtering blood and producing urine. Various types of kidney cancer exist, each with unique characteristics and treatment responses. Some types of kidney cancer are relatively common, and some are rare.  This article presents the most common types of kidney cancer, arranged by their prevalence, to provide clarity on this complex condition.

Renal Cell Carcinoma

Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer in adults, accounting for about 90% of all cases. It originates in the lining of the proximal convoluted tubule, a part of the small tubes in the kidney that transport waste from the blood to the urine. Renal Cell Carcinoma can vary in size and growth rate, and it might not cause any symptoms in its early stages. There are three major types of renal cell carcinoma: clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe.

Clear Cell Renal Cell Carcinoma

Leading the list, clear cell renal cell carcinoma is the most common subtype of renal cell carcinoma, making up about 70-80% of all RCC cases. Named for the clear appearance of its cells under a microscope, this type is noted for its potential to spread beyond the kidney.

Papillary Renal Cell Carcinoma

Papillary renal cell carcinoma ranks as the second most common form, following clear cell renal cell carcinoma. Papillary renal cell carcinoma used to be divided into two types - Type 1 and Type 2, with Type 1 being less aggressive. It is characterized by the formation of small, finger-like projections. However, most recent changes in classification do not separate them into Type 1 and Type 2. Instead they are categorized under a single term “papillary renal cell carcinoma”.

Chromophobe Renal Cell Carcinoma

Chromophobe renal cell carcinoma is another subtype of renal cell carcinoma, accounting for about 5% of renal cell carcinoma cases. It is recognized for its slower growth rate and a lower likelihood of metastasis, compared to other types of renal cell carcinoma.

Urothelial Carcinoma of the Renal Pelvis (Transitional Cell Carcinoma)

Urothelial carcinoma of the renal pelvis, also known as transitional cell carcinoma, represents about 5-10% of kidney cancers. Originating in the renal pelvis where urine collects before moving to the bladder, it shares similarities with bladder cancer and affects the same type of cells.

Wilms Tumor (Nephroblastoma)

Wilms tumor, or nephroblastoma, is the most prevalent type of kidney cancer in children, usually affecting those under the age of 5. It is a highly treatable form of cancer, especially when diagnosed early, setting it apart from adult kidney cancers in both treatment and prognosis.


The spectrum of kidney cancer types, arranged here by their prevalence, highlights the varied nature of this disease. From clear cell renal cell carcinoma, the most common subtype, to the specific forms like Wilms tumor that predominately affects children, understanding these variations is key for early detection and effective treatment. Anyone experiencing symptoms related to kidney cancer should seek prompt medical consultation for accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment planning. Being informed about these common types of kidney cancer empowers individuals to better understand the potential risks and symptoms associated with this disease.


Popular posts from this blog

What Is Kidney Cancer?

Can Bladder Cancer be Prevented?

What is the Survival Rate for Bladder Cancer?

Prostate Cancer: An Overview

Urology Cancers Blog Disclaimer

Pembrolizumab for Renal Cell Carcinoma

How is Kidney Cancer Diagnosed?

What are the Risk Factors for Bladder Cancer?