Risk Prediction for Renal Cell Carcinoma: Results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Prospective Cohort Study

Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 Mar;30(3):507-512. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-20-1438. Epub 2020 Dec 17.


Background: Early detection of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has the potential to improve disease outcomes. No screening program for sporadic RCC is in place. Given relatively low incidence, screening would need to focus on people at high risk of clinically meaningful disease so as to limit overdiagnosis and screen-detected false positives.

Methods: Among 192,172 participants from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort (including 588 incident RCC cases), we evaluated a published RCC risk prediction model (including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status) in terms of discrimination (C-statistic) and calibration (observed probability as a function of predicted probability). We used a flexible parametric survival model to develop an expanded model including age, sex, BMI, and smoking status, with the addition of self-reported history of hypertension and measured blood pressure.

Results: The previously published model yielded well-calibrated probabilities and good discrimination (C-statistic [95% CI]: 0.699 [0.679-0.721]). Our model had slightly improved discrimination (0.714 [0.694-0.735], bootstrap optimism-corrected C-statistic: 0.709). Despite this good performance, predicted risk was low for the vast majority of participants, with 70% of participants having 10-year risk less than 0.0025.

Conclusions: Although the models performed well for the prediction of incident RCC, they are currently insufficiently powerful to identify individuals at substantial risk of RCC in a general population.

Impact: Despite the promising performance of the EPIC RCC risk prediction model, further development of the model, possibly including biomarkers of risk, is required to enable risk stratification of RCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Renal Cell / epidemiology*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Europe
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Nutrition Assessment*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors