What are the types of kidney cancer?

There are several different types of kidney cancer. The most common type is called renal cell carcinoma. Renal cell carcinoma starts in the tubules, or small tubes, of the kidney.

About 9 in 10 kidney cancers are diagnosed as renal cell carcinoma. Other kidney cancers impact the body in a different way than renal cell carcinoma, so treatment is also different.

Kidney Diagram; Kidney Tubules

What are the stages of kidney cancer?

Like many cancers, kidney cancer has different stages. Staging tells healthcare professionals how much cancer is in a person’s body and this helps them figure out the best way to treat the cancer. Kidney cancer is staged from I to IV and these stages are defined as follows:

Stage I The tumor is only in the kidney and is not larger than 7 cm
Stage II The tumor is larger than 7 cm but is still only in the kidney
Stage III The tumor extends beyond the kidney into certain nearby tissues
Stage IV The tumor extends beyond the kidney and may be found in multiple lymph nodes or in distant parts of the body, such as the bones, liver, or lungs

What are your treatment options?

Common treatment options for people with kidney cancer are surgery, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, and biologic therapy.

Radical/Partial Nephrectomy

Surgery is the most common treatment for people with kidney cancer. The type of surgery depends on the size and stage of the cancer:

  • Removing all of the kidney (radical nephrectomy): The surgeon removes the entire kidney, adrenal gland, surrounding tissue, and nearby lymph nodes
  • Removing part of the kidney (partial nephrectomy): The surgeon removes only the part of the kidney that contains the tumor
Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy may be used for people with kidney cancer who are not able to have surgery. It is generally used to treat areas outside of the kidney that are not removable by surgery. 

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy is a category of treatment including drugs that target specific features of cancer cells that help them grow. They may also affect normal cells, causing side effects. Kinase inhibitors are one type of targeted therapy used to treat kidney cancer.

Kinase inhibitors block molecules known to send signals that tell cancer cells to grow. Without these signals, the tumor often stops growing or shrinks. Some kinase inhibitors also have anti-angiogenic effects. These effects stop or slow the growth of new blood vessels that feed a tumor. Without new blood vessels to nourish it, the tumor often stops growing or shrinks.

Immunotherapy Treatment

Immunotherapy is a treatment that works with the body’s immune system to help fight off or destroy cancer cells. Most immunotherapy treatments are delivered through a needle or tube directly into your vein.

CABOMETYX is a type of therapy called a tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which is in the category of targeted therapies. You may also hear your oncology doctor refer to it as a TKI.




CABOMETYX is a prescription medicine used to treat people with advanced kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma).

It is not known if CABOMETYX is safe and effective in children.

What are the possible side effects of CABOMETYX?

CABOMETYX may cause serious side effects, including:

  • Severe bleeding (hemorrhage). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get any signs of bleeding during treatment with CABOMETYX, including:
    • coughing up blood or blood clots
    • vomiting blood or if your vomit looks like coffee-grounds
    • red or black (looks like tar) stools
    • menstrual bleeding that is heavier than normal
    • any unusual or heavy bleeding
  • A tear in your stomach or intestinal wall (perforation) or an abnormal connection between 2 parts of your body (fistula). Tell your healthcare provider right away if you get tenderness or pain in your stomach-area (abdomen).
  • Blood clots, stroke, heart attack, and chest pain. Get emergency help right away if you get:
    • swelling or pain in your arms or legs
    • shortness of breath
    • feel lightheaded or faint
    • sweating more than usual
    • numbness or weakness of your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body
    • sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
    • sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
    • sudden trouble walking
    • dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
    • a sudden severe headache
  • High blood pressure (hypertension). Hypertension is common with CABOMETYX and sometimes can be severe. Your healthcare provider will check your blood pressure before starting CABOMETYX and during treatment with CABOMETYX. If needed, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to treat your high blood pressure.
  • Diarrhea. Diarrhea is common with CABOMETYX and can be severe. If needed, your healthcare provider may prescribe medicine to treat your diarrhea. Tell your healthcare provider right away, if you have frequent loose, watery bowel movements.
  • A skin problem called hand-foot skin reaction. Hand-foot skin reactions are common and can be severe. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have rashes, redness, pain, swelling, or blisters on the palms of your hands or soles of your feet.
  • Reversible Posterior Leukoencephalopathy Syndrome (RPLS). A condition called reversible posterior leukoencephalopathy syndrome can happen during treatment with CABOMETYX. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you have headaches, seizures, confusion, changes in vision, or problems thinking.

Your healthcare provider may change your dose, temporarily stop, or permanently stop treatment with CABOMETYX if you have certain side effects.

The most common side effects of CABOMETYX are:

  • tiredness
  • nausea
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • vomiting
  • altered sense of taste
  • inflamed and sore mouth

Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.

These are not all the possible side effects of CABOMETYX. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Before you take CABOMETYX, tell your healthcare provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

  • have any unusual bleeding
  • have high blood pressure
  • Plan to have any surgery, including dental surgery. You should stop treatment with CABOMETYX at least 28 days before any scheduled surgery.
  • Have liver problems
  • Are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant. CABOMETYX can harm your unborn baby. If you are able to become pregnant, you should use effective birth control during treatment and for 4 months after your final dose of CABOMETYX. Talk to your healthcare provider about birth control methods that may be right for you. If you become pregnant or think you are pregnant, tell your healthcare provider right away.
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if CABOMETYX passes into your breast milk. Do not breastfeed during treatment and for 4 months after your final dose of CABOMETYX.

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription or over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. CABOMETYX and certain other medicines may affect each other causing side effects.

What should I avoid while taking CABOMETYX?

Do not drink grapefruit juice, eat grapefruit or supplements that contain grapefruit during treatment with CABOMETYX.

Please see the Patient Information in the accompanying full Prescribing Information.