Occupational ultraviolet (UV) exposure may be associated with a reduced risk for developing renal cell carcinoma (RCC), particularly in women, a new study published in the International Journal of Cancer has shown.1

Because previous research has demonstrated a relationship between vitamin D and kidney cancer risk and an inverse association between RCC risk and UV exposure among European men, researchers sought to evaluate the association between occupational UV exposure and RCC risk among U.S. residents.

For the case-control study, researchers analyzed lifetime occupational data for 1217 RCC cases and 1235 controls and assessed for occupational UV exposure. Associations were adjusted for body mass index, center, dietary vitamin D intake, education, family history of cancer, hypertension, race, sex, and smoking.

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Results showed a general pattern of decreasing RCC risk with increasing UV exposure. Researchers found that RCC cases had significantly lower cumulative occupational UV exposure compared with controls (fourth quartile vs first quartile OR, 0.74; 95% CI: 0.56-0.99; Ptrend = .03).

The study also demonstrated a stronger association between UV exposure and RCC for women than men, but there was no difference between races.

“Given the sex finding discrepancies in this study versus our previous study, additional research is need to clarify whether the protective effects of occupational UV exposure and RCC risk are real,” the authors concluded.


  1. Karami S, Colt JS, Stewart PA, et al. A case–control study of occupational sunlight exposure and renal cancer risk [published online ahead of print November 14, 2015]. Int J Cancer. doi: 10.1002/ijc.29902.