Clinical care and research studies for kidney cancer at UCLA is facilitated through the UCLA Kidney Cancer Program. Established in 1989, it is one of the first comprehensive kidney cancer programs in the United States and has a storied history of accomplishments. The UCLA Kidney Cancer Program’s expert team provides state-of-the-art care to patients with kidney cancer, in a convenient and coordinated multidisciplinary setting within the Institute of Urologic Oncology. Read more about our history >
The kidneys’ main function is to filter blood and produce urine which eliminates both excess fluids, electrolytes, and acids/bases from the body. By working in harmony with the rest of the body, the kidney maintains a comfortable balance or steady internal state (homeostasis) for the entire body. While some patients may live comfortably with only one kidney, maintaining excellent kidney function helps prevent excess stress on the body. Sometimes in the kidney, tumors can arise from the tubules responsible for urine production leading to renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). More information about types of kidney cancer >
Each year an estimated 75,000 patients are found with a kidney tumor. Approximately 65,000 of these are ultimately found to be renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer). The most common type is clear cell carcinoma. Renal cell cancer is not one disease but rather a collection of 15-20 types of renal tumors that can arise from the kidney. Kidney cancer is among the 10 most common cancers in both men and women, and the risk for developing kidney cancer is higher in men than in women. More information about kidney cancer risk factors >
The Kidney and Kidney Cancers
When kidney tumors are small, they rarely cause visible signs or symptoms in its early stages. Today 70% of patients with renal tumors are found by incidental detection during an imaging study (such as a CT or MRI). When tumors are large they can cause blood in the urine (hematuria) which can be microscopic or visible (gross). In very advanced stages, due to large tumor size, local symptoms such as fatigue, weakness and chills may occur.
For information about kidney cancer diagnosis, grading and staging >
The UCLA Kidney Cancer Program offers a variety of innovative treatment options to patients who have been diagnosed with kidney cancer, including standard, minimally invasive and robotic-assisted kidney-sparing surgery, medical therapy, as well as clinical trials.
Treatment options for a tumor in the kidney (localized) include:
Medical Treatment options for more advanced disease outside of the kidney include:
Clinical trials are essential for developing new methods of preventing, diagnosing, and treating kidney cancer. By offering patients access to innovative treatment approaches, patients have the potential to receive tomorrow’s improved treatment often years before FDA approval and wide-spread adoption. Many of the UCLA Kidney Cancer Program’s protocols arise from our extensive research program allowing lab work to be directly translated to patient care which is true “bench-to-bedside” approach. Kidney Cancer Clinical Trials open for enrollment >