Background: High-temperature cooked meat contains two families of carcinogens, heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Given the kidneys' role in metabolism and urinary excretion of these compounds, we investigated meat-derived mutagens, as well as meat intake and cooking methods, in a population-based case-control study conducted in metropolitan Detroit and Chicago.
Methods: Newly diagnosed, histologically confirmed adenocarcinoma of the renal parenchyma (renal cell carcinoma (RCC)) cases (n=1192) were frequency matched on age, sex, and race to controls (n=1175). The interviewer-administered Diet History Questionnaire (DHQ) included queries for meat-cooking methods and doneness with photographic aids. Levels of meat mutagens were estimated using the DHQ in conjunction with the CHARRED database.
Results: The risk of RCC increased with intake of barbecued meat (P(trend)=0.04) and the PAH, benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) (multivariable-adjusted odds ratio and 95% confidence interval, highest vs lowest quartile: 1.50 (1.14, 1.95), P(trend)=0.001). With increasing BaP intake, the risk of RCC was more than twofold in African Americans and current smokers (P(interaction)<0.05). We found no association for HCAs or overall meat intake.
Conclusion: BaP intake, a PAH in barbecued meat, was positively associated with RCC. These biologically plausible findings advocate further epidemiological investigation into dietary intake of BaP and risk of RCC.