British Journal of Nutrition

Full Papers

Dietary Surveys and Nutritional Epidemiology

Dietary fat and risk of renal cell carcinoma in the USA: a case–control study

Kaye E. Brocka1 c1, Gloria Gridleya2, Brian C.-H. Chiua3, Abby G. Ershowa4, Charles F. Lyncha5 and Kenneth P. Cantora2

a1 Department of Behavioural and Community Health Sciences, Faculty of Heath Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia

a2 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, Department of Health and Human Services, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

a3 Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, USA

a4 Department of Health and Human Services, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA

a5 Department of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA


An increased risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) has been linked with obesity. However, there is limited information about the contribution of dietary fat and fat-related food groups to RCC risk. A population-based case–control study of 406 cases and 2434 controls aged 40–85 years was conducted in Iowa (1986–89). For 323 cases and 1820 controls from the present study, information on dietary intake from foods high in fat nutrients and other lifestyle factors was obtained using a mailed questionnaire. Cancer risks were estimated by OR and 95 % CI, adjusting for age, sex, smoking, obesity, hypertension, physical activity, alcohol and vegetable intake and tea and coffee consumption. In all nutrient analyses, energy density estimates were used. Dietary nutrient intake of animal fat, saturated fat, oleic acid and cholesterol was associated with an elevated risk of RCC (OR = 1·9, 95 % CI 1·3, 2·9, Ptrend < 0·001; OR = 2·6, 95 % CI 1·6, 4·0, Ptrend < 0·001; OR = 1·9, 95 % CI 1·2, 2·9, Ptrend = 0·01; OR = 1·9, 95 % CI 1·3, 2·8, Ptrend = 0·006, respectively, for the top quartile compared with the bottom quartile of intake). Increased risks were also associated with high-fat spreads, red and cured meats and dairy products (OR = 2·0, 95 % CI 1·4, 3·0, Ptrend = 0·001; OR = 1·7, 95 % CI 1·0, 2·2, Ptrend = 0·01; OR = 1·8, 95 % CI 1·2, 2·7, Ptrend = 0·02; OR = 1·6, 95 % CI 1·1, 2·3, Ptrend = 0·02, respectively). In both the food groups and nutrients, there was a significant dose–response with increased intake. Our data also indicated that the association of RCC with high-fat spreads may be stronger among individuals with hypertension. These findings deserve further investigation in prospective studies.

(Received November 19 2007)

(Revised June 26 2008)

(Accepted June 30 2008)

(Online publication September 12 2008)


c1 Corresponding author: Kaye E. Brock, fax +61 293519540, email


Abbreviations: NHANES II, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey II; RCC, renal cell carcinoma