Although cancers are widely considered to be maintained by stem cells, the existence of stem cells in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has seldom been reported, in part due to the lack of unique surface markers. We here identified cancer stem cell-like cells with side population (SP) phenotype in five human RCC cell lines. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that 769P, a human clear cell RCC cell line, contained the largest amount of SP cells as compared with other four cell lines. These 769P SP cells possessed characteristics of proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation, as well as strong resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy that were possibly related to the ABCB1 transporter. In vivo experiments with serial tumor transplantation in mice also showed that 769P SP cells formed tumors in NOD/SCID mice. Taken together, these results indicate that 769P SP cells have the properties of cancer stem cells, which may play important roles in tumorigenesis and therapy-resistance of RCC.