To improve future drug development efficiency in renal cell carcinoma (RCC), a disease-progression model was developed with longitudinal tumor size data from a phase III trial of sorafenib in RCC. The best-fit model was externally evaluated on 145 placebo-treated patients in a phase III trial of pazopanib; the model incorporated baseline tumor size, a linear diseaseprogression component, and an exponential drug effect (DE) parameter. With the model-estimated effect of sorafenib on RCC growth, we calculated the power of randomized phase II trials between sorafenib and hypothetical comparators over a range of effects. A hypothetical comparator with 80% greater DE than sorafenib would have 82% power (one-sided α = 0.1) with 50 patients per arm. Model-based quantitation of treatment effect with computed tomography (CT) imaging offers a scaffold on which to develop new, more efficient, phase II trial end points and analytic strategies for RCC.