BACKGROUND The role of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) as a risk factor for renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is still under discussion. Data on prevalence of RCC in ADPKD are limited, especially on a large population scale. The aim of this study was to analyze the prevalence of RCC in ADPKD kidneys and characterize the clinical features of this coincidence. METHODS Based on our histopathological registry for ADPKD and the Else Kröner-Fresenius Registry, we retrospectively reviewed malignant and benign renal lesions in patients with ADPKD who had undergone renal surgery from 1988 to 2011. RESULTS 240 ADPKD patients underwent 301 renal surgeries. Mean age at surgery was 54 years. Overall, 16 malignant and 11 benign lesions were analyzed in 301 kidneys (5.3%; 3.7%), meaning that 12/240 (5%; 1:20) patients presented with malignant renal lesions. 66.7% (8/12) of these patients had undergone dialysis prior to surgery. We found 10/16 (63%) papillary RCC, 5/16 (31%) clear cell RCC, and 1/16 (6%) papillary noninvasive urothelial cancer. Regarding all renal lesions, 6/17 (35.3%) patients had more than one histological finding in their kidneys. In 2 cases, metachronous metastases were removed. Mean follow-up was 66.7 months. CONCLUSION Kidney-related prevalence of RCC in ADPKD kidneys was surprisingly high. Whether or not this is due to chronic dialysis or due to the underlying disease is still speculative. Like other cystic renal diseases with an increased risk for RCC, the attending physician should be aware of the malignant potential of ADPKD, especially with concomitant dialysis.