A population-based familial aggregation analysis indicates genetic contribution in a majority of renal cell carcinomas

Int J Cancer. 2002 Aug 1;100(4):476-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.10513.


The etiology of RCC is incompletely understood and the inherited genetic contribution uncertain. Although there are rare mendelian forms of RCC stemming from inherited mutations, most cases are thought to be sporadic. We sought to determine the extent of familial aggregation among Icelandic RCC patients in general. Medical and pathologic records for all patients diagnosed with RCC in Iceland between 1955 and 1999 were reviewed. This included a total of 1,078 RCC cases, 660 males and 418 females. With the use of an extensive computerized database containing genealogic information on 630,000 people in Iceland during the past 11 centuries, several analyses were conducted to determine whether the patients were more related to each other than members drawn at random from the population. Patients with RCC were significantly more related to each other than were subjects in matched groups of controls. This relatedness extended beyond the nuclear family. RRs were significantly greater than 1.0 for siblings, parents and cousins of probands. RRs were 2-3 for first-degree relatives and 1.6 for third-degree relatives. The risk of RCC is significantly higher for members of the extended family of an affected individual, as well as the nuclear family. Our results indicate that germline mutations are significantly involved in what has been defined as sporadic RCC.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / genetics*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Germ-Line Mutation*
  • Humans
  • Iceland / epidemiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Male
  • Pedigree