January 14, 2009

Meat, Fat, and Protein Consumption Does Not Increase Risk of Renal Cell Cancer


Meat, Fat, and Protein Consumption Does Not Increase Risk of Renal Cell Cancer

Intake of red meat, processed meat, poultry, or seafood is not associated with a risk of renal cell cancer, according to the results of a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.[1]

The kidneys are each filled with tiny tubules that clean and filter the blood-the process that removes waste and makes urine. Renal cell cancer (RCC) is a malignancy involving these tubules of the kidney and is the most common type of kidney cancer.

One important focus of research in the prevention of cancer and other diseases is diet. Several studies have indicated that diets high in fruit and vegetables may provide certain health benefits compared with diets higher in meats and processed foods. Researchers continue to evaluate this issue, as disease prevention remains a significant goal.

Researchers conducted a pooled analysis of 13 prospective studies that included 530,469 women and 244,483 men who had completed a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) upon entering the study. Across the 13 studies, a total of 1,478 renal cell cancers were diagnosed during follow-up periods of 7-20 years. The median intakes for red meat, poultry, seafood, and processed meat varied widely across the studies. The median total fat intake ranged from 29% to 43% of total daily caloric intake, while the median total protein intake ranged from 14% to 19% of total daily caloric intake.

The researchers then calculated the relative risk for renal cell cancer. They observed statistically significant positive associations or trends for intakes of fats and proteins and renal cell cancer; however, after adjusting for several known risk factors (such as body mass index, fruit and vegetable intake, and alcohol intake), they found that these associations were no longer statistically significant.

The researchers concluded that “intakes of fat and protein or their subtypes, red meat, processed meat, poultry and seafood, are not associated with risk of renal cell cancer.” Research will likely be ongoing to examine the relationship between diet and cancer.


[1] Lee JE, Spiegelman D, Hunter DJ, et al. Fat, protein, and meat consumption and renal cell cancer risk: A pooled analysis of 13 prospective studies. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008; 100: 1695-1706.

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