Type 2 Diabetes in Relation to the Risk of Renal Cell Carcinoma Among Men and Women in Two Large Prospective Cohort Studies

Diabetes Care. 2018 Jul;41(7):1432-1437. doi: 10.2337/dc17-2518. Epub 2018 Apr 20.


Objective: We assessed whether type 2 diabetes is associated with renal cell carcinoma (RCC), independent of key potential confounders, in two large prospective cohorts with biennially updated covariate data.

Research design and methods: A total of 117,570 women from the Nurses' Health Study (NHS) and 48,866 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study (HPFS) were followed from 1976 and 1986, respectively, through 2014. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards models were used to calculate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs for associations between type 2 diabetes and pathology-confirmed RCC, overall and by stage, grade, and histologic subtype.

Results: During 38 years of follow-up in the NHS, we confirmed 418 RCC case subjects, including 120 fatal cases. Over 28 years in the HPFS, we confirmed 302 RCC case subjects, including 87 fatal cases. Women with type 2 diabetes had a significantly increased risk of RCC compared with women without type 2 diabetes (multivariable HR 1.53; 95% CI 1.14-2.04), with some evidence that the association was stronger for ≤5 (HR 2.15; 95% CI 1.44-3.23) than >5 (HR 1.22; 95% CI 0.84-1.78) years' duration of type 2 diabetes (Pdifference 0.03). Among men, type 2 diabetes was not associated with total RCC (HR 0.89; 95% CI 0.56-1.41) or with RCC defined by stage, grade, or subtype. Sample sizes for analyses by stage, grade, and subtype were limited.

Conclusions: We found that type 2 diabetes was independently associated with a greater risk of RCC in women but not in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors