Incidence of acute kidney injury in cancer patients: a Danish population-based cohort study

Eur J Intern Med. 2011 Aug;22(4):399-406. doi: 10.1016/j.ejim.2011.05.005. Epub 2011 Jun 8.


Background: Cancer patients may be at increased risk of acute kidney injury, but evidence is limited.

Methods: We assembled a cohort of incident cancer patients diagnosed within a population-based hospital setting in Northern Denmark (population:~1.2 million) between 1999 and 2006. Patients were followed up to five years for acute kidney injury, identified using creatinine measurements recorded in a laboratory database covering the study area. Acute kidney injury was defined according to recent consensus criteria as a 50% increase in creatinine level. We computed incidence rate, 1-year, and 5-year risks of acute kidney injury, accounting for competing risk from death. Acute kidney injury incidence was compared between cancers using a Cox regression model adjusted for important confounders.

Results: Among 37,267 incident cancer patients with a creatinine measurement, 9613 (25.8%) developed acute kidney injury during 77,376 person-years. The incidence was 258 (95%CI: 252-264) per 1000 person-years the first year after cancer diagnosis decreasing to 43 (95%CI: 41-44) thereafter. The 1-year risk was 17.5% (95%CI: 17.1-17.9%), and the 5-year risk was 27.0% (95%CI: 26.5-27.5%). We observed the highest 1-year risk in patients with kidney cancer [44.0% (95%CI: 40.5-47.5)], liver cancer [33.0% (95%CI: 28.2-37.8%)], or multiple myeloma [31.8% (95%CI: 27.3-36.3%)]. Similar results were observed after adjustment for confounders. Both overall and for most specific cancer sites, risks were higher among patients with distant metastases at cancer diagnosis.

Conclusion: Acute kidney injury is a common complication in cancer patients, particularly in patients with kidney cancer, liver cancer, or multiple myeloma.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Kidney Injury / epidemiology*
  • Acute Kidney Injury / etiology
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / complications*
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Distribution
  • Young Adult