In the United States, renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has rapidly increased in incidence for over two decades. The most common histologic subtypes of RCC, clear cell, papillary, and chromophobe have distinct genetic and clinical characteristics; however, epidemiologic features of these subtypes have not been well characterized, particularly regarding any associations between race, disease subtypes, and recent incidence trends. Using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program, we examined differences in the age-adjusted incidence rates and trends of RCC subtypes, including analysis focusing on racial differences. Incidence rates increased over time (2001-2009) for all three subtypes. However, the proportion of white cases with clear cell histology was higher than among blacks (50% vs. 31%, respectively), whereas black cases were more likely than white cases to have papillary RCC (23% vs. 9%, respectively). Moreover, papillary RCC incidence increased more rapidly for blacks than whites (P < 0.01) over this period. We also observed that increased incidence of papillary histology among blacks is not limited to the smallest size strata. We observed racial differences in proportionate incidence of RCC subtypes, which appear to be increasing over time; this novel finding motivates further etiologic, clinical, molecular, and genetic studies.
© 2013 The Authors. Cancer Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.