Adult renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is clinically resistant to chemotherapy. However, in nephroblastoma (NBL) chemotherapy has increased survival dramatically. We studied the P-glycoprotein (P-gp) expression of 18 RCC and 9 NBL as well as 1 benign renal adenoma and fetal renal tissue using three different monoclonal antibodies (MRK-16, C-219, JSB-1). P-gp was found positive with all three antibodies in 12/18 RCC, while only 2 tumors were completely negative. Staining varied with respect to intensity and number of positive cells [5%-90%]. Intense staining was seen at the apical side of malignant tubules in well differentiated parts of RCC and in tubular structures of the benign renal adenoma. Poorly differentiated parts of the tumors showed less staining. In NBL blastemal parts were negative. In 4/8 specimens showing focal epithelial differentiation, however, the luminal side of more differentiated tubular structures did stain, strongly resembling P-gp staining in the developing fetal human kidney. These results indicate that P-gp expression in normal (fetal) human kidney as well as in benign and malignant tumors derived from this organ depends on the degree of differentiation of tubules, which may have implications for chemotherapy sensitivity in both malignant tumors.