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About Advanced RCC

Information about kidney cancer.

Here are some facts about the numbers of people affected by this serious disease:

  • More than 60,000 new cases of kidney cancer and renal pelvis cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year
  • Renal cell carcinoma is the most common type of kidney cancer
  • The average age at diagnosis for kidney cancer is 64 years
  • About twice as many men are diagnosed with kidney cancer compared to women

Advanced RCC

Despite surgery, in about 20% to 30% of patients, cancer will return. And of those diagnosed with RCC, approximately 20% already have advanced (metastatic) disease at diagnosis. So when you are diagnosed with RCC, you may need other treatment, not just surgery to remove the tumor. TORISEL is approved to treat the portion of patients whose cancer is advanced.

Signs & symptoms of RCC

More than half of all cases of RCC are found by chance. This happens when you get an imaging test for a different health issue. You may not have any obvious signs or symptoms of RCC.

Some signs and symptoms of RCC include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Blood in the urine
  • Pain in the lower side of the torso

Risk factors for RCC

Men have a higher risk than women of developing RCC. Most people who are diagnosed are in their 60s or 70s.

Other risk factors are:

  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • High blood pressure
  • Certain types of kidney disease

Stages of RCC

Staging overview and 5-year survival rates for kidney cancer

Five-year survival rates for renal cancer and staging overview

  Stage I: Tumor is 7 centimeters (about 3 inches) or smaller and found only in the kidney.

  Stage II: Tumor is larger than 7 centimeters and found only in the kidney.

  Stage III: Tumors/cancerous tissue can be found in the kidney, an adrenal gland, a nearby lymph node, the tissue around the kidney, or major blood vessels of the kidneys.

  Stage IV: Tumors/cancerous tissue can be found in other areas of the body outside the fatty tissue surrounding the kidney, such as the intestines, lymph nodes, pancreas, lungs, or other organs.

Adapted from Cohen et al.
© 2005, Massachusetts Medical Society. All rights reserved.

Putting tumor size into perspective

When thinking about tumor size, it may help to compare different measurements with everyday objects.

base ball tennis ball and golf ball to represent tumor sizes

Note: images shown for relative comparison; not actual size.

When RCC is found at an early stage, it can be treated with surgery to remove the tumor. Part or all of the kidney may also be removed.

Treatment for RCC

The main treatment for early stage RCC is surgery to remove the cancer from the body.

Types of surgery for RCC include:

  • Nephrectomy (pronounced: nuh-FREK-tuh-mee) – kidney removal. This type of surgery is done for early stage RCC and some cases of advanced RCC
  • Partial nephrectomy – removing part of the kidney. This type of surgery is done if the tumor is less than 4 centimeters (about 1.5 inches) in diameter. It might also be done if you have only one kidney or if there are tumors in both kidneys. Another reason would be if the kidneys are not working right
  • Laparoscopic nephrectomy – removing part or all of the kidney with a method called laparoscopy. With this method, the surgeon does not have to open the abdomen but makes small cuts to get the kidney out
  • Ablation – a technique to kill tumor cells using radio waves or extreme cold. This is done on tumors that are less than 3 centimeters (about 1.2 inches) in diameter. It is also done if a person cannot have major surgery

Chemotherapy and radiation, used to treat other cancers, are not generally used for treating RCC.

Treatment for advanced RCC may include:

  • Immunotherapies – These help the immune system fight the cancer
  • Molecular therapies – These are designed to block growth or spread of cancer cells

Researchers are also looking at other treatments for RCC. These include vaccines, stem-cell therapies, and others.

Go to How TORISEL works

Information about kidney cancer.


Important Safety Information

Scroll for Important Safety Information and Indication.
  • You should not receive TORISEL if certain tests show that your liver function is moderately or severely impaired. TORISEL should be used with caution in patients whose liver function is mildly impaired and should be given at a reduced dose.
  • TORISEL can cause serious side effects. If you experience side effects that are too severe to tolerate, your health care professional may choose to delay your treatment, give you a lower dose of TORISEL, or discontinue treatment.
  • Before you begin treatment with TORISEL, your doctor may give you an antihistamine. It is possible to have a serious (including a life-threatening or fatal) allergic reaction even after you receive an antihistamine. Tell your doctor or nurse if you are allergic to antihistamines or are unable to take antihistamines for any other medical reasons. Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any swelling around your face or trouble breathing during or after treatment with TORISEL.
  • Patients are likely to experience increased blood sugar levels. This may require treatment with or an increase in the dose of a medicine that lowers blood sugar levels. Tell your doctor or nurse if you are thirstier than usual or urinate more often than usual.
  • Patients are likely to experience an increase in cholesterol and/or triglycerides. This may require treatment with or an increase in the dose of a medicine that lowers cholesterol and/or triglycerides.
  • Before you begin treatment with TORISEL, tell your doctor or nurse about ALL MEDICINES you are taking, including
    • Prescription medications, including but not limited to antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, antifungals, antivirals, blood pressure medications, blood thinners, dexamethasone, vaccines
    • Nonprescription (over the counter) medications
    • Vitamins
    • Herbal supplements, including but not limited to St. John’s Wort
  • Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice during the course of your treatment with TORISEL, including the time between treatments, as they may change the amount of TORISEL in your body.
  • Treatment with TORISEL may affect your immune system. You may be at greater risk of getting an infection while receiving TORISEL.
  • Patients may also be at risk for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP), a fungal infection in the lungs. Fatal cases have been reported. This may be related to the use of TORISEL along with corticosteroids or other medications that suppress the immune system.
  • Patients may get chronic inflammation of the lungs during treatment with TORISEL. Rare fatal cases have been reported. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any trouble breathing, or develop a cough or fever.
  • TORISEL may cause bowel perforation. Fatal cases have been reported. Tell your doctor or nurse right away if you have any new or worsening stomach pain or blood in your stool.
  • Treatment with TORISEL may be associated with a risk of kidney failure, sometimes fatal.
  • During treatment with TORISEL, wounds may not heal properly. Tell your doctor or nurse if you are recovering from surgery or have an unhealed wound. Tell your doctor or nurse if you plan to have surgery during treatment with TORISEL.
  • TORISEL may increase the risk of bleeding in the brain, which has, in some cases, been fatal. You are at increased risk if
    • You have a central nervous system tumor, such as a brain tumor
    • You are taking medicine to keep your blood from clotting
  • Some vaccines may be less effective when given during the course of treatment with TORISEL. You should avoid the use of live vaccines and close contact with people who have recently received live vaccines. Ask your doctor or nurse if you are eligible to receive a flu shot.
  • Both men and women should use a reliable form of birth control during treatment and for 3 months after the last dose of TORISEL. TORISEL can harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor or nurse before beginning treatment if you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant.
  • Elderly patients may be more likely to experience certain side effects including diarrhea, edema and pneumonia.
  • The most common side effects are
    • Rash
    • Weakness/fatigue
    • Mouth sores
    • Nausea
    • Swelling/fluid retention
    • Loss of appetite


TORISEL is indicated for the treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma.

Patients should always ask their doctors for medical advice about adverse events.

You may report an adverse event related to Pfizer products by calling 1-800-438-1985 (US only). If you prefer, you may contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly. The FDA has established a reporting service known as MedWatch where health care professionals and consumers can report serious problems they suspect may be associated with the drugs and medical devices they prescribe, dispense, or use. Visit MedWatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.