Dietary acrylamide and cancer of the large bowel, kidney, and bladder: absence of an association in a population-based study in Sweden

Br J Cancer. 2003 Jan 13;88(1):84-9. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6600726.


Recently, disturbingly high levels of acrylamide were unexpectedly detected in widely consumed food items, notably French fries, potato crisps, and bread. Much international public concern arose since acrylamide has been classified as a probable carcinogen, although based chiefly on laboratory evidence; informative human data are largely lacking. We reanalysed a population-based Swedish case-control study encompassing cases with cancer of the large bowel (N=591), bladder (N=263) and kidney (N=133), and 538 healthy controls, assessing dietary acrylamide by linking extensive food frequency data with acrylamide levels in certain food items recorded by the Swedish National Food Administration. Unconditional logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios, adjusting for potential confounders. We found consistently a lack of an excess risk, or any convincing trend, of cancer of the bowel, bladder, or kidney in high consumers of 14 different food items with a high (range 300-1200 microg kg(-1)) or moderate (range 30-299 microg kg(-1)) acrylamide content. Likewise, when we analysed quartiles of known dietary acrylamide intake, no association was found with cancer of the bladder or kidney. Unexpectedly, an inverse trend was found for large bowel cancer (P for trend 0.01) with a 40% reduced risk in the highest compared to lowest quartile. We found reassuring evidence that dietary exposure to acrylamide in amounts typically ingested by Swedish adults in certain foods has no measurable impact on risk of three major types of cancer. It should be noted, however, that relation of risk to the acrylamide content of all foods could not be studied.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrylamide / adverse effects*
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / etiology


  • Acrylamide