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Abstract

Although numerous studies have identified obesity or high relative weight as a risk factor for renal-cell cancer in women, the degree to which this effect is present in men remains unclear. A multicenter population-based case-control study concerning incident cases of histologically verified renal-cell cancer (n = 1,732) and age- and sex-matched controls (n = 2,309) was conducted in Australia, Denmark, Germany (2 centers), Sweden and the United States. Relative weight was estimated by the body mass index, and the association between this factor and other factors, such as height, physical activity and use of amphetamines, was measured by the relative risk estimated in logistic regression models. Body mass index was found to be a risk factor among women and, to a lesser extent, among men. A 3-fold increased risk (RR = 3.6, 95% CI = 2.3–5.7) was observed for women with a relative weight in the top 5% compared with those in the lowest quartile. Rate of weight change (estimated as weight change per annum in kilograms) appeared to be an independent risk factor among women but not among men. Physical activity and height were unrelated to risk of renal-cell cancer regardless of level of BMI, while use of amphetamines was associated with an increased risk among men, although no dose or duration effect was seen. Our findings verify the link between high relative weight and risk of renal-cell cancer, particularly among women. The mechanism that underlies this association is, however, still unclear, although the rate of weight change may play a role. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.