The Kidney Cancer Prevention Research Program in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics is dedicated to impactful research that is translatable to the primary and secondary prevention of cancer. Our current research focuses on the identification of new environmental risk factors and gene-environment interactions.
Since the initiation of the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program in the 1970s, the annual age-adjusted incidence of kidney cancer in the United States has increased more than twofold. Worldwide, increasing incidence (~2 to 8% annually) of kidney cancer has been most rapid among women, young adults and minority groups. Over the past decade, renal cell cancer (RCC) incidence rates have continued to increase despite substantial improvements in controlled hypertension and roughly constant rates of obesity and smoking. Risk factors for nearly half of the roughly 65,000 U.S. cases of kidney cancer diagnosed each year remain unexplained. RCCs comprise over 90% of cancers of the kidney, with approximately half of all RCC cases attributed to hypertension, obesity and tobacco smoking. Despite gains in overall survival, median survival among late stage RCC patients is 10 months. Taken together, these trends underscore the need for identification of new risk factors and improved prevention.