We investigated the changes in gene expression accompanying the development and progression of kidney cancer by use of 31,500-element complementary DNA arrays. We measured expression profiles for paired neoplastic and noncancerous renal epithelium samples from 37 individuals. Using an experimental design optimized for factoring out technological and biological noise, and an adapted statistical test, we found 1738 differentially expressed cDNAs with an expected number of six false positives. Functional annotation of these genes provided views of the changes in the activities of specific biological pathways in renal cancer. Cell adhesion, signal transduction, and nucleotide metabolism were among the biological processes with a large proportion of genes overexpressed in renal cell carcinoma. Down-regulated pathways in the kidney tumor cells included small molecule transport, ion homeostasis, and oxygen and radical metabolism. Our expression profiling data uncovered gene expression changes shared with other epithelial tumors, as well as a unique signature for renal cell carcinoma.