Abstract Objectives The natural history and growth rates of untreated solid enhancing renal tumors is being defined through active surveillance series. Serial radiographic evaluation of patients who are not surgical candidates or refuse surgical treatment provides an opportunity to characterize the growth of untreated enhancing renal tumors. Here we evaluate factors that may help predict radiographic growth during observation. Materials and methods We reviewed our renal cancer database for enhancing renal masses that were radiographically observed for a period of at least 12 months. Variables examined included patient age, gender, lesion size on presentation, radiographic tumor characteristics, duration of active surveillance, linear growth rate, surgical pathology, development of new renal tumors, and stage progression. Results One hundred nine patients with 124 sporadic enhancing renal tumors were identified undergoing a period of active surveillance of at least 12 months. Median patient age was 73 years (mean 69.8, range 35–87); 72% (78/109) of patients were males. Median duration of active surveillance was 26 months (mean 33.4, range 12–156). Multifocal disease was present in 9% (10/109) of patients on presentation, accounting for 20% (25/124) of all tumors. Tumor size on presentation was a median of 2.0 cm (mean 2.61, range 0.4–12.0). Overall median tumor growth rate was 0.21 cm/y (mean 0.28, range 1.4–2.47). Observed linear growth rates were independent of patient age, gender, tumor size on presentation, multifocality, and radiographic characteristics (solid versus cystic), P > 0.05. Of the patients initiating a period of active surveillance 36% (39/109) eventually underwent definitive therapy. Malignant pathology was present in 90% (35/39) of patients undergoing treatment. In patients continuing active surveillance [64% (70/109)], 2.9% (2/70) developed de novo renal lesions and 1.4% (1/70) developed metastatic disease. Conclusions Currently, no clinical predictors of tumor growth or disease progression have been identified, although, the risk of developing progressive disease over the short term appears low. Clinical and molecular markers of disease progression are needed prior to offering active surveillance to otherwise acceptable surgical candidates.