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Adult Renal Cell Carcinoma Risk and Childhood Body Mass Index

By: Kelly M. Hennessey, PhD
Posted: Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Childhood body mass index (BMI) and height may be potential risk factors for adult renal cell carcinoma, according to the results of a Danish observational cohort study conducted by Britt Wang Jensen, PhD, of the Center for Clinical Research and Prevention, Denmark, and colleagues. They found that children with a high birth weight, high BMI, a gain in BMI, or tall height had an increased risk of developing renal cell carcinoma later in life. Their results were published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.

Based on data from the Copenhagen School Health Records Register, the study population consisted of 301,418 eligible individuals born between 1930 and 1989. Weight and height measurements were recorded annually from ages 7 to 13 years until 1983. The follow-up period began in 1968 or at 30 years of age, whichever came last.

In total, 1,010 cases of renal cell carcinoma were identified. The median age of diagnosis was 62, and, in both men and women, childhood height and BMI were positively and linearly associated with adult renal cell carcinoma. Children who were overweight at age 7 did not have a significantly increased risk of adult renal cell carcinoma compared with children with a normal BMI. However, children with a normal BMI at age 7 years of age who were overweight at age 13 had a 1.7-fold increased risk of renal cell cancer later in life. In addition, children who were persistently taller than average at 7 and 13 years had a higher risk of adult renal cell carcinoma than did children of average height at those ages.

These findings “indicate that renal cell carcinoma may originate earlier in life than previously thought and suggest that new explorations into the mechanisms underlying these associations should be undertaken,” the study authors concluded.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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