The use of microRNAs and proteomics-based approaches for early detection are among the foremost research priorities of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) when it comes to kidney cancer. The agency also is focusing on genes involved in the initiation and progression of kidney cancers.
The NCI has increased funding for kidney cancer research dramatically in recent years, rising from $32.9 million in fiscal year 2005 to $45.2 million in fiscal year 2009, according to the most recent agency snapshot for the disease. Additionally, the NCI channeled $7.2 million of stimulus spending into kidney cancer research in fiscal year 2009.
Research grants flow through several divisions, including the Urologic Oncology Branch and the Translational Research Program.
Overall, the incidence of kidney cancer has been rising since the mid-1940s, and the reasons for this steady increase are unclear, the NCI said. Although it accounts for <5% of all cancers, kidney cancer is among the 10 most common forms of cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated 58,240 new cases last year, with 92% of those cases attributed to renal cell carcinoma.
The prognosis for many renal cancer patients is optimistic. More than half of the patients are diagnosed at the local stage, when the 5-year relative survival rate is 90%, the ACS said. Survival rates for cancers of the kidney and renal pelvis are 82% at 1 year and 68% at 5 years, respectively. For the full NCI snapshot, visit Full NCI Snapshot