Renal cell carcinoma: Etiology, incidence and epidemiology

Masaru Murai, Mototsugu Oya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: The incidence of renal cell carcinoma has been increasing worldwide. Although the etiology of renal cell carcinoma is largely unknown, recent epidemiological investigations have shed some light on the issue. This article reviews the literature related to etiology, incidence and epidemiology of renal cell carcinoma published between May 1, 2003 and April 30, 2004. Recent findings: Accumulating evidence has confirmed the increasing incidence of renal cell carcinoma. A racial disparity has been reported for the first time. Being overweight and obesity were confirmed to be risk factors for renal cell carcinoma. Recreational exercise was shown to reduce the risk, whereas a Western-style diet and smoking increased the risk. Occupational exposure may relate to the development of renal cell carcinoma; however, no definite carcinogens have so far been identified. A susceptibility to develop renal cell carcinoma may also exist in relation to the gene polymorphisms of detoxifying enzymes including glutathione S-transferase and cytochrome P450. Summary: Although high-risk groups for renal cell carcinoma have been identified, a large portion of renal cell carcinoma still has an unknown etiology. Life-style modifications might reduce renal cell carcinoma risks. Further studies are thus needed to explore the etiology of renal cell carcinoma in terms of gene-environment interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-233
Number of pages5
JournalCurrent Opinion in Urology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Jul 1


  • Epidemiology
  • Etiology
  • Incidence
  • Renal cell carcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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