Association between cadmium exposure and renal cancer risk: a meta-analysis of observational studies

Sci Rep. 2015 Dec 11;5:17976. doi: 10.1038/srep17976.


Cadmium (Cd) is a widespread environmental pollutant and has been a recognized carcinogen for several decades. Many observational studies reported Cd exposure might be one cause of renal cancer. However, these findings are inconsistent. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the relationship between cadmium exposure and renal cancer risk. A comprehensive PubMed and Embase search was conducted to retrieve observational studies meeting our meta-analysis criteria. A combined odds ratio (OR) and corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI) were applied to assess the association between Cd exposure and renal cancer risk. The meta-analysis showed that a high Cd exposure significantly increased renal cancer 1.47 times (OR = 1.47; 95% CI = 1.27 to 1.71, for highest versus lowest category of cadmium categories). The significant association remained consistent when stratified by geographic region and gender, however mixed results were produced when stratified by sample size, study design, NOS score, adjustment for covariates, effects measure, and exposure type. Our results indicated that a high Cd exposure was associated with increased renal cancer risk and the association was higher for occupational exposure compared with non-occupational exposure. This meta-analysis suggests that a high Cd exposure may be a risk factor for renal cancer in occupational population.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Male
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Publication Bias
  • Risk


  • Cadmium