ARTICLE ABSTRACTRenal cell carcinoma is increasing in incidence but the molecular mechanisms regulating its growth remain elusive. Coexpression of the monocytic growth factor colony-stimulating factor (CSF)-1 and its receptor CSF-1R on renal tubular epithelial cells (TEC) will promote proliferation and antiapoptosis during regeneration of renal tubules. Here, we show that a CSF-1–dependent autocrine pathway is also responsible for the growth of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). CSF-1 and CSF-1R were coexpressed in RCCs and TECs proximally adjacent to RCCs. CSF-1 engagement of CSF-1R promoted RCC survival and proliferation and reduced apoptosis, in support of the likelihood that CSF-1R effector signals mediate RCC growth. In vivo CSF-1R blockade using a CSF-1R tyrosine kinase inhibitor decreased RCC proliferation and macrophage infiltration in a manner associated with a dramatic reduction in tumor mass. Further mechanistic investigations linked CSF-1 and epidermal growth factor signaling in RCCs. Taken together, our results suggest that budding RCC stimulates the proximal adjacent microenvironment in the kidney to release mediators of CSF-1, CSF-1R, and epidermal growth factor expression in RCCs. Furthermore, our findings imply that targeting CSF-1/CSF-1R signaling may be therapeutically effective in RCCs. Cancer Res; 72(1); 187–200. ©2011 AACR.