Acetaminophen Linked to Kidney Cancer Risk

Kidney cancer risk may increase with NSAIDs and acetaminophen

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

(RxWiki News) For any ache that's major or minor, one has a readily available painkiller to use. This may relieve short-term pain but may increase the risk of getting kidney cancer in the long-term.

Researchers examined painkiller use in 18 studies conducted from six countries worldwide from 1966 to 2011 and possible links to kidney cancer. Through the studies, it was found that non-aspirin painkillers and acetaminophen increased the risk of getting kidney cancer.

"Ask your pharmacist if painkillers are necessary."

For this analysis, any use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) such as Advil, Aleve and Motrin were found to have a 26 percent increase in risk for getting kidney cancer.

According to senior author Eunyoung Cho, Sc.D., assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and associate epidemiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, these results were not surprising due to recent studies that have been published.

For Dr. Cho, the real value of this analysis was the increased risk associated with acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Any use of acetaminophen was found to increase the risk of getting kidney cancer by 33 percent. Previous studies had not linked acetaminophen to kidney cancer.

Similar patterns of increased risk were found in high-dose usage of painkillers. There was no significant difference in increased risk based on the different factors involved in each of the studies.

As previously reported, aspirin did not increase the risk of kidney cancer.

For Dr. Cho, this research helped further prove the link between NSAIDs with kidney cancer and helped uncover the increased risk of taking acetaminophen. For the future, new research could focus on painkiller use and increased risk in other types of cancer.

These results were presented at the 10th AACR International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research.

Research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
October 27, 2011
Last Updated:
October 27, 2011