Kidney Cancer Treatments

For smaller or localized renal masses, surgery is the primary treatment. For kidney cancers that have left the kidney, surgery may be involved in a greater treatment plan involving chemotherapy and/or immunotherapy.


Surgical treatment of kidney cancer involves three main modalities:

  • Partial nephrectomy: Removal of the renal cancer but preserving the remainder of the kidney. The urologist will discuss with the risks and potential benefits of partial nephrectomy and together you will determine if this is right for you. Northwestern Medicine surgeons are specialists in both open and minimally invasive partial nephrectomy using robotic techniques.
  • Radical nephrectomy: For larger tumors or when partial nephrectomy is not feasible.
  • Ablation techniques: To treat the cancer without removal.


For patients with metastatic kidney cancer, a medical oncologist is a critical part of their Northwestern Medicine kidney cancer team. Chemotherapy drugs may be administered, either intravenously to treat cancerous cells that have spread outside the kidney.

Novel therapies

We offer state-of-the-art therapy, such as immunotherapy and cancer-targeted therapies by clinical trials.


Northwestern Medicine offers a variety of advanced treatments and therapies for kidney cancer.