Artificial sweeteners and cancer of the lower urinary tract

N Engl J Med. 1980 Mar 6;302(10):537-41. doi: 10.1056/NEJM198003063021001.


We evaluated the relation between cancer of the lower urinary tract and the use of artificial sweeteners in a case-control study of 592 patients with lower-urinary-tract cancer (94 per cent of whom had a bladder tumor) and 536 controls chosen from the general population of the study area. A history of use or artificial sweeteners and exposure to other known or suspected risk factors was determined by interview. In those who had used dietetic beverages and in those who had used sugar substitutes, the relative risk of lower-urinary-tract cancer was estimated as 0.9 (0.7 to 1.2, 95 per cent confidence interval), as compared with 1 in nonusers of artificial sweeteners. Among men, the relative risk was 0.8 (0.6 to 1.1) in those who had used dietetic beverages and 0.8 (0.5 to 1.1) in those who had used sugar substitutes. Among women, the corresponding relative risks were 1.6 (0.9 to 2.7) and 1.5 (0.9 to 2.6). Increasing frequency of duration of use of artificial sweeteners was not consistently associated with increasing relative risk. This study suggests that, as a group, users of artificial sweeteners have little or no excess risks of cancer of the lower urinary tract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Beverages
  • Boston
  • Cyclamates / adverse effects
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations
  • Risk
  • Saccharin / adverse effects
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / complications
  • Sweetening Agents / adverse effects*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Urinary Bladder Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Urologic Neoplasms / chemically induced


  • Cyclamates
  • Sweetening Agents
  • Saccharin