Kidney Cancer Screening and Epidemiology

  • Sabrina H. Rossi
  • Hajime Tanaka
  • Juliet A. Usher-Smith
  • Jean-Christophe Bernhard
  • Yasuhisa Fujii
  • Grant D. Stewart
Keywords: renal cell carcinoma, RCC, stage shift, screening tools, risk-stratified screening


The incidence of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has risen worldwide over the past few decades, and this has been
associated with a stage shift. Survival outcomes of RCC depend largely on the stage at diagnosis. Although overall
mortality has stabilized or declined in most countries, survival remains poor in late-stage disease, suggesting early
detection may improve overall survival outcomes. A number of potential candidate screening tools have been
considered (including urinary dipstick, blood- and urine-based biomarkers, ultrasound, and computed tomography
[CT]), though it may be that a combination of these approaches may be optimal. Ultimately, the sensitivity and
specificity of the chosen screening tool will determine the rate of false positives and false negatives, which must be
minimized. One of the key challenges is the relatively low prevalence of the disease, which might be overcome by
performing risk-stratified screening or screening for more than one condition (such as combined lung and kidney
cancer screening). Both approaches have been shown to be acceptable to the general public, and they may maximize
the efficiency of screening while reducing harms. Indeed, quantifying benefits and harms of screening is key
(including the impact on overdiagnosis and quality of life). Whether screening for RCC will lead to a stage shift and
the impact on survival are the decisive missing pieces of information that will determine whether the screening
program might be adopted into clinical practice (along with feasibility, acceptability, and cost-effectiveness).

How to Cite
Rossi, S. H., Tanaka, H., Usher-Smith, J. A., Bernhard, J.-C., Fujii, Y., & Stewart, G. D. (2022). Kidney Cancer Screening and Epidemiology. Société Internationale d’Urologie Journal, 3(6), 371-385.
2022 WUOF/SIU International Consultation on Urological Diseases