The M2 isoenzyme of pyruvate kinase (M2-PK) is specially expressed by tumour cells (Tu M2-PK) and has been detected in the peripheral blood of patients with renal cell carcinoma (RCC). We analysed the benefit of using Tu M2-PK as a tumour marker for primary detection of RCC by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis. The area under the curve was 0.674, and the sensitivity, specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) were 44.4%, 87.5% and 88%, respectively, at the ROC optimal cut-off of 28.2 kU/L. We examined 71 patients. Since the marker sensitivity for detection of the early stages T1 and T2 was only 47% it is not suggested to use this marker for primary diagnosis of RCC. Its use as part of the confirmatory preoperative evaluation might be considered in view of its high PPV.