Acute renal failure (ARF) in cancer patients is a dreadful complication that causes substantial morbidity and mortality. Moreover, ARF may preclude optimal cancer treatment by requiring a decrease in chemotherapy dosage or by contraindicating potentially curative treatment. The pathways leading to ARF in cancer patients are common to the development of ARF in other conditions. However, ARF may also develop due to etiologies arising from cancer treatment, such as nephrotoxic chemotherapy agents or the disease itself, including post-renal obstruction, compression or infiltration, and metabolic or immunological mechanisms. This article reviews specific renal disease in cancer patients, providing a comprehensive overview of the causes of ARF in this setting, such as treatment toxicity, acute renal failure in the setting of myeloma or bone marrow transplantation.