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Open Access Research article

Cancer risk among elderly persons with end-stage renal disease: a population-based case–control study

Fatma M Shebl14*, Joan L Warren2, Paul W Eggers3 and Eric A Engels1

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD, USA

2 Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD, USA

3 Kidney and Urology Epidemiology Program, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD, USA

4 Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, CT, USA

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BMC Nephrology 2012, 13:65  doi:10.1186/1471-2369-13-65

Published: 26 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) have elevated cancer risk. Cancer risk increases with age, but associations of ESRD with specific malignancies are incompletely studied for older individuals.

Methods

We conducted a population-based case–control study (1,029,695 cancer and 99,610 controls) among the U.S. elderly using SEER-Medicare linked data. We defined ESRD as presence of dialysis claims in the 3 months prior to selection.

Results

Although ESRD was not associated with excess cancer risk overall (odds ratio 1.02; 95%CI 0.91-1.14), risk was specifically increased for cancers of the stomach (1.45; 1.16-1.81), small intestine (1.92; 1.27-2.92), colon (1.17; 1.00-1.36), liver (1.53; 1.16-2.01), biliary tract (1.78; 1.20-2.65), lung (1.17; 1.02-1.34), cervix (2.12; 1.39-3.23), kidney (2.42; 2.01-2.92), and for multiple myeloma (1.77; 1.40-2.24) and chronic myeloid leukemia (1.74; 1.08-2.80). The association between liver cancer and ESRD was attenuated upon adjustment for hepatitis B and C infection or diabetes mellitus. Multiple myeloma risk was highest with short ESRD duration (p < 0.0001), possibly reflecting reverse causality, while kidney cancer risk showed a borderline rise over time (p = 0.08).

Conclusions

Among elderly individuals with ESRD, the excess risks for some cancers may reflect immune dysfunction or a high prevalence of other risk factors, such as viral infections or diabetes mellitus. Our results underscore the need for studying biological pathways of carcinogenesis in ESRD.

Keywords:
End-Stage Renal Disease; ESRD; ESKD; Dialysis; Cancer