Article

Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 83-88

First online:

Transitional cell cancer of the urinary tract and renal cell cancer in relation to acetaminophen use (United States)

  • Lynn RosenbergAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine
  • , R. Sowmya RaoAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine
  • , Julie R. PalmerAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine
  • , Brian L. StromAffiliated withCenter for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, and Division of General Internal Medicine of the Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • , Ann ZauberAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • , M. Ellen WarshauerAffiliated withDepartment of Public Health, Cornell Medical Center, New York Hospital
  • , Paul D. StolleyAffiliated withDepartment of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • , Samuel ShapiroAffiliated withSchool of Public Health, Boston University School of Medicine

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Abstract

Experimental and epidemiologic evidence have suggested that phenacetin use increases the risk of transitional cell cancers of the urinary tract. The drug is no longer marketed but a commonly used metabolite, acetaminophen, has been linked recently to an increased risk of renal cancer. We assessed the relation of acetaminophen use to the risk of transitional cell cancer of the urinary tract and of renal cell cancer with data from a hospital-based study of cancers and medication use conducted from 1976-96 in the eastern United States. We compared 498 cases of transitional cell cancer and 383 cases of renal cell cancer with 8,149 noncancer controls and 6,499 cancer controls and controlled confounding factors with logistic regression. For transitional cell cancer, the relative risk (RR) estimate for regular acetaminophen use that had begun at least a year before admission was 1.1 (95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 0.6-1.9) based on noncancer controls, and 0.9 (CI = 0.5-1.6) based on cancer controls. RR estimates for use that lasted at least five years, and for nonregular use, were also close to 1.0. For renal cell cancer, the corresponding estimates were again close to 1.0. Our results suggest that acetaminophen, as used in present study population, does not influence the risk of transitional cell cancer of the urinary tract or of renal cell cancer.

Acetaminophen kidney neoplasms renal cell carcinoma United States