Obesity, hypertension, and the risk of kidney cancer in men

N Engl J Med. 2000 Nov 2;343(18):1305-11. doi: 10.1056/NEJM200011023431804.


Background: Obesity and hypertension have been implicated as risk factors for the development of renal-cell cancer.

Methods: We examined the health records of 363,992 Swedish men who underwent at least one physical examination from 1971 to 1992 and were followed until death or the end of 1995. Men with cancer (renal-cell cancer in 759 and renal-pelvis cancer in 136) were identified by cross-linkage of data with the nationwide Swedish Cancer Registry. Poisson regression analysis was used to estimate relative risks, with adjustments for age, smoking status, body-mass index, and diastolic blood pressure.

Results: As compared with men in the lowest three eighths of the cohort for body-mass index, men in the middle three eighths had a 30 to 60 percent greater risk of renal-cell cancer, and men in the highest two eighths had nearly double the risk (P for trend, <0.001). There was also a direct association between higher blood pressures and a higher risk of renal-cell cancer (P for trend, <0.001 for diastolic pressure; P for trend, 0.007 for systolic pressure). After the first five years of follow-up had been excluded to reduce possible effects of preclinical disease, the risk of renal-cell cancer was still consistently higher in men with a higher body-mass index or higher blood pressure. At the sixth-year follow-up, the risk rose further with increasing blood pressures and decreased with decreasing blood pressures, after adjustment for base-line measurements. Men who were current or former smokers had a greater risk of both renal-cell cancer and renal-pelvis cancer than men who were not smokers. There was no relation between body-mass index or blood pressure and the risk of renal-pelvis cancer.

Conclusions: Higher body-mass index and elevated blood pressure independently increase the long-term risk of renal-cell cancer in men. A reduction in blood pressure lowers the risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / etiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / complications*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Kidney Pelvis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Sweden / epidemiology