Brian R. Lane MD PhD Division of Urology Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, Michigan

Risk Factors for Kidney Cancer Identified Interview with:

Brian R. Lane MD PhD Division of Urology Spectrum Health Grand Rapids, Michigan

Dr. Lane

Brian R. Lane MD PhD
Division of Urology
Spectrum Health
Grand Rapids, Michigan Can you explain how you conducted your study, and what the main findings were?

Response:  We used large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to identify genetic variants associated with obesity measures, blood pressure, lipids, type 2 diabetes, insulin, and glucose. these genetic variants were used as proxies for the above-mentioned risk factors and evaluated in relation to renal cell carcinoma risk (kidney cancer) using GWAS data from 10,000 RCC patients and 20,000 control participants.

–          Based on these genetic data, we found that multiple measures of obesity, as well as diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and fasting insulin, are associated with renal cell carcinoma risk. In contrast, we found little evidence for an association with RCC risk for systolic blood pressure (SBP), circulating lipids, overall diabetes, or fasting glucose. Why was this research important to conduct?

– Prior observational studies identified putative risk factors that increased the risk of renal cell carcinoma (renal cell carcinoma), including obesity and other obesity-related factors.

– Traditional observational studies have limitations, so that it is impossible to determine which obesity-related risk factors directly influence renal cell carcinoma risk.

– This study used an alternative methodology commonly referred to as mendelian randomization (MR). MR circumvents many of the inherent limitations of traditional
observational studies by using genetic proxies of putative risk factors. These are not subject to reverse causation and are less likely to be confounded by other risk factors. Does your study lead to any advice that you can offer our patient audience?

Response: One clear way to reduce the risk of developing kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma) is by management of (and avoidance of) obesity, lowering diastolic blood pressure, and by keeping insulin levels in the normal range (for diabetics). What kind of unanswered questions remain in this area of research that you’d like to see answered in the coming years?

Response: Whether improving health by these specific measures (reducing obesity, DBP, and fasting insulin in a population of individuals) will reduce the amount of renal cell carcinoma that develops in the population.


Johansson M, Carreras-Torres R, Scelo G, Purdue MP, Mariosa D, Muller DC, et al. (2019) The influence of obesity-related factors in the etiology of renal cell carcinoma—A mendelian randomization study. PLoS Med 16(1): e1002724.

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Last Updated on January 24, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD