Metastatic renal-cell carcinoma (RCC) is resistant to chemotherapy, and patients with this disease have a poor outlook. Immunotherapy by use of cytokines and vaccines against tumour antigens has shown encouraging results in a small group of patients. Advances in the understanding of the graft-versus-tumour effect in haematological malignant disorders have led to the use of stem-cell transplantation for treatment of solid-organ malignant diseases such as RCC. Techniques of bone-marrow ablation have been superseded by safer conditioning regimens, with occasional complete remission and partial remission in some patients. Graft-versus-host disease, engraftment failure, and disease progression remain important obstacles to the widespread use of new techniques for metastatic RCC. Here, we summarise important issues surrounding immunotherapy for RCC, the problems encountered with use of immunotherapy, and the present use of non-myeloablative techniques for treatment of this disease.