Drinking Alcohol in Moderation Linked to Lower Risk of Kidney Cancer (Renal Cell Cancer)

Compared to alcohol abstainers, moderate drinkers were found to be about 30% less likely to develop renal cell cancer, which is the most common form of kidney cancer in adults. The form of alcohol (beer, wine or
spirits) did not appear to be important.

Dr. Jung Lee of Harvard Medical School and his colleagues pooled data from 12 prospective studies of  229,575 men and 530,469 women.  Participants were people who had never been diagnosed for cancer, except for melanoma skin cancer and were tracked for periods of seven to 20 years. The researchers analyzed data on alcohol consumption, eating habits, smoking, weight and many other factors.

Many studies of alcohol and  kidney cancer have  been limited to small numbers of subjects. However, the methodological rigor of this analysis of over three-quarters of a million  people provides strong evidence that  consuming an average of at least one alcoholic drink per day significantly reduces the risk of kidney cancer, compared to teetotalers or non-drinkers.

The study is published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.



  • Lee, J. E. et al. Alcohol intake and renal cell cancer in a pooled analysis of 12 prospective studies.  Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2007, 99, 811-822.

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