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Can Sugary Drinks Increase Bladder Cancer Risk?

By: Gavin Calabretta, BS
Posted: Monday, December 13, 2021

A marginal link between sugary drink consumption and the risk for bladder and kidney cancers has potentially been found, according to a study recently published in Scientific Reports. However, Shoichiro Tsugane, MD, DMSc, of the National Cancer Center, Tokyo, Japan, and colleagues reported that this association was apparent in women alone and not in men.

“Sugary drink consumption has been hypothesized to increase kidney cancer risk, but two previous studies did not find positive associations,” the study authors explained. “Our results suggest that higher sugary drink consumption was associated with a greater risk of kidney and bladder cancers among women after excluding kidney and bladder cancer cases diagnosed within 3 years after baseline assessment.”

The study enrolled 73,024 individuals from the Japan Public Health Center–based Prospective (JPHC) study, which took place from 1990 to 2013. Dietary data were sampled from the study, which focused on a self-administered food frequency questionnaire. The questionnaire was validated with 14- or 28-day dietary records.

During a median follow-up of 15.8 years, 297 bladder cancers and 169 kidney cancers were reported. Compared with non-consumers of these beverages, consumers of sugary drinks tended to be smokers and younger. On the other hand, non-consumers were more likely to consume alcohol and have a history of hypertension and diabetes. Additionally, women who consumed more sugary drinks tended to have a higher body mass index than those who did not.

In minimally adjusted and multivariate analyses, there was no apparent association between sugary drink consumption and cancer risk. However, to minimize reverse causation, the study authors conducted separate analyses that excluded 32 bladder cancer and 23 kidney cancer cases diagnosed within the first 3 years of follow-up. In these analyses, consumption of sugary drinks was marginally associated with the risk of bladder and kidney cancers (both hazard ratio = 1.11, 95% confidence interval = 1.01–1.22, P = .03).

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.



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