Kidney cancer is one of the most frequently diagnosed and the most lethal urinary cancer. Despite all the efforts made, no serum-specific biomarker is currently used in the clinical management of patients with this tumor. In this study, comprehensive high-resolution proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (H NMR) and silver-109 nanoparticle-enhanced steel target laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (AgNPET LDI MS) approaches were conducted, in conjunction with multivariate data analysis, to discriminate the global serum metabolic profiles of kidney cancer (n = 50) and healthy volunteers (n = 49). Eight potential biomarkers have been identified using H NMR metabolomics and nine mass spectral features which differed significantly (p  0.7), area under the receiver operative characteristic curve (ROC) AUC > 0.96. Compared with healthy human serum, kidney cancer serum had higher levels of glucose and lower levels of choline, glycerol, glycine, lactate, leucine, myo-inositol, and 1-methylhistidine. Analysis of differences between these metabolite levels in patients with different types and grades of kidney cancer was undertaken. Our results, derived from the combination of LDI MS and H NMR methods, suggest that serum biomarkers identified herein appeared to have great potential for use in clinical prognosis and/or diagnosis of kidney cancer. Graphical abstract.