Vision - To eliminate kidney cancer through collaboration and discovery

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Kidney Cancer Research Program Cover Image
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Kidney Cancer Research Program Overview Image
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According to the American Cancer Society approximately 76,080 new cases of kidney cancer will occur in the U.S. in 2021 and 13,780 people will die from the disease.[1]  The most common form of kidney cancer, renal cell carcinoma (RCC), has the highest mortality among genitourinary tumors, with an approximate five-year survival rate of 76% globally.[2]  Incidence rates for RCC have risen steadily each year since the 1990s in most of the world, partly due to improved detection via newer imaging tests,[3] with an approximate increase of 2% per year.[4]  The etiology of kidney cancer has not yet been clearly defined, but it appears to be multifactorial in nature.[5]  Tobacco smoking and environmental and occupational exposures are some of the factors known to increase an individual’s risk of developing kidney cancer.5  Smoking is higher in men than in women[6] and is more prevalent in Service Members and Veterans than in civilian populations.[7]  Consequently, renal cancer is five to six times greater in the male military population over the age of 40 than in non-military.[8]  Additionally, active-duty Service Members are at increased risk of exposure to chlorinated solvents, petrochemicals, and heavy metals, all of which have been associated with increased risk of RCC.7,[9]  The aforementioned risk factors are especially relevant to the military and bode to the need to investigate several aspects of RCC.

In FY17 the U.S. Congress directed $10 million to kidney cancer research in the Department of Defense appropriation, thus establishing the Kidney Cancer Research Program (KCRP).  The KCRP has continued its focus on issues regarding prevention, detection, treatment, including the long-term effects of kidney cancer treatment, and building capacity with next-generation investigators and resources for novel kidney cancer treatments for Service Members, Veterans, their families, and the American public.  The KCRP has developed a strategic plan that articulates the most critical needs in kidney cancer and the research it seeks to promote.

KCRP Strategic Overarching Goals are:

  • Increase understanding of the biology of kidney cancer
  • Develop novel therapeutic strategies for the treatment of kidney cancer
  • Improve patient care for kidney cancer
  • Grow the field and increase collaboration in the area of kidney cancer

For additional details regarding the program’s strategic goals and focus areas, please refer to the KCRP Strategic Plan.


[1] Kidney and Renal Pelvis Statistics | American Cancer Society - Cancer Facts & Statistics

[2] Angulo JC, Manini C, López JI, et al.  2021.  The role of epigenetics in the progression of clear cell renal cell carcinoma and the basis for future epigenetic treatments. Cancers 13(9):2071.



[5] Safiri S, Kolahi AA, Mansournia MA, et al.  2020.  The burden of kidney cancer and its attributable risk factors in 195 countries and territories, 1990-2017. Sci Rep 10(1):13862.





Congressional Appropriations

Congressional Appropriations

  • $185 million
  • $50 million

Funding Summary


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Last updated Wednesday, May 15, 2024