The rate of tumor recurrence post resection suggests that there are underlying molecular changes in nearby histologically normal tissue that go undetected by conventional diagnostic methods that utilize contrast agents and immunohistochemistry. MALDI MS is a molecular technology that has the specificity and sensitivity to monitor and identify molecular species indicative of these changes. The current study utilizes this technology to assess molecular distributions within a tumor and adjacent normal tissue in clear cell renal cell carcinoma biopsies. Results indicate that the histologically normal tissue adjacent to the tumor expresses many of the molecular characteristics of the tumor. Proteins of the mitochondrial electron transport system are examples of such distributions. This work demonstrates the utility of MALDI MS for the analysis of tumor tissue in the elucidation of aberrant molecular changes in the tumor microenvironment.