A population-based case-control study of 154 histologically verified renal-cell cancer patients and 157 controls was per formed in Shanghai, China, an area with low rates for this tumor. Elevated risks were observed for cigarette smoking (odds ratio (OR) = 2.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1 to 4.9), and for increasing categories of body weight and meat consumption, while reduced risks were seen for increasing categories of fruit and vegetable intake. An increased risk was also observed for regular use of phenacetin-containing analgesics (OR = 2.3; 95% CI:0.7 to 7.0). These findings are consistent with earlier studies in Western countries, and indicate that many of the same etiologic factors for renal-cell cancer operate in low-and high-risk societies. © 1992 Wiley-Liss, Inc.