Renal medullary carcinoma (RMC) is a rare and highly aggressive malignancy arising from the renal medulla and found mostly in patients with sickle cell trait. RMC usually presents with widely metastatic disease. We describe a young man diagnosed with metastatic RMC who sustained a complete response to systemic chemotherapy but developed brain metastases with leptomeningeal involvement and subsequently had a partial response to brain irradiation. The use of radiation in the management of RMC is reviewed. Due to the apparent propensity for RMC to spread to the central nervous system, prophylactic treatment such as craniospinal irradiation should be considered along with chemotherapy in patients with metastatic RMC to potentially improve the progression-free interval. © F Rocco et al., 2011.