Survival of adult patients with cancer of the kidney, renal pelvis, ureter and urethra (ICD-9 189) was analysed using data from the EUROCARE II study, a collaborative project of 45 population-based cancer registries in 17 European countries. For the period 1985-1989, more than 24000 patients were included and 5-year relative survival was 48%. Large variations were observed between countries with 5-year relative survival ranging from 57% in France, 53% in Italy and 51% in Spain to 35% in Denmark, 33% in Poland and 30% in Estonia. A number of registries also provided information on previous years and survival was seen to improve with time from 44% in 1978-1980 to 50% in 1987-1989. Age was an important determinant of survival with 5 year survival rates decreasing from 63% in patients aged 15-44 years to 36% in patients aged 75 years and older. Variation in survival rates by country or time is probably related to differences in the distribution of tumour stage at diagnosis. Evidence to confirm this theory is, however, lacking.