Smoking up Your Bladder Cancer Risk

Bladder cancer biggest risk factor is smoking

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Smoking is associated with lung cancer in the minds of many, yet appears to also be the number one risk factor for bladder cancer as well.

In data presented at American Association for Cancer Research 2012, risk factors for bladder cancer patients were systematically evaluated, and a history of smoking came out on top, but genes also played a role.

"Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for help quitting now."

Out of twelve genes in the study looked at for a link between a given genetic profile and the risk for developing cancer, seven showed a positive relationship, two more than others. The difference in bladder cancer risk due to the presence of inherited genes was increased far more if a patient smoked.

In patients with the lower risk set of genes that had never smoked, their thirty year risk of developing was 0.7 percent, whereas someone with a high risk set of genes who also smoked had odds at 8.0 percent. Not smoking dropped the high risk group thirty year bladder cancer risk from 8.0 to 2.0 percent.

Researchers showed that two genes in particular, NAT2 and UGT1A6 which are responsible for enzymes that process tobacco smoke, were shown to change an individual's risk in developing bladder cancer. While still elusive, absolute proof of the genetic relationship is not far behind.

The research raised the question, but was unable to answer, whether smoking simply increases the risk for developing all cancers. The search for genes involved in bladder cancer risk is not over yet, but researchers concluded that the evidence was strong for smoking having a causal relationship on the formation of bladder cancer.

Researchers analyzed 4,098 cases of bladder cancer for similarities, then compared those results against 5,995 similar people without cancer. Eight different studies were performed, using a database provided by the National Cancer Institute.

In conclusion, the researchers felt that large differences in the future number of bladder cancers if public health efforts were undertaken to lower smoking rates.

Data and conclusions presented at conferences are considered preliminary until published in a peer- reviewed journal.

Funding and assistance for this research was provided by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 12, 2012
Last Updated:
April 17, 2012