Cancers of the kidney and urinary tract in patients on dialysis for end-stage renal disease: analysis of data from the United States, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand

J Am Soc Nephrol. 2003 Jan;14(1):197-207. doi: 10.1097/01.asn.0000039608.81046.81.


Patients on maintenance dialysis have increased risk for cancer, especially in the kidney and urinary tract. In a retrospective cohort of 831,804 patients starting dialysis during 1980 to 1994 in the United States, Europe, or Australia and New Zealand, standardized incidence ratios (SIR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated for kidney and bladder cancers. Risks for cancers of the kidney (SIR 3.6; CI 3.5 to 3.8) and bladder (SIR 1.5; CI 1.4 to 1.6) were increased, relatively more in younger than older patients and more in female patients (kidney: SIR 4.6, CI 4.3 to 4.9; bladder: SIR 2.7, CI 2.4 to 2.9) than male patients (kidney: SIR 3.2, CI 3.0 to 3.4; bladder: SIR 1.3, CI 1.2 to 1.3). SIR for kidney cancer were raised in all categories of primary renal disease, and for bladder cancer in all but diabetes and familial, hereditary diseases. Notably high SIR occurred in toxic nephropathies (chiefly analgesic nephropathy) and miscellaneous conditions (a category that includes Balkan nephropathy), the excess of kidney cancer in these conditions being urothelial in origin. SIR for kidney cancer rose significantly, and those for bladder cancer fell (not reaching significance) with time on dialysis. There was no association with type of dialysis. The pattern of increased risk for renal parenchymal cancer in dialysis patients is consistent with causation through acquired renal cystic disease and of urothelial cancers of the kidney and bladder with the carcinogenic effects of certain primary renal diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Diseases / complications
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / therapy*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • New Zealand / epidemiology
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology
  • Urologic Neoplasms / etiology*