Reproductive characteristics and risk of kidney cancer: Iowa Women's Health Study

Jennifer C. Molokwu, Anna E. Prizment, Aaron R. Folsom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objectives: Kidney (renal cell) cancer accounts for approximately 3-4% of all new cases of primary cancer diagnosed in the United States. A relationship between kidney cancer and female reproductive factors has been hypothesized but supporting evidence is inconsistent. Our objectives were to explore the relationship between female reproductive factors and kidney cancer and identify independent risk factors related to female reproductive history and its effects on development of kidney cancer. Methods: We measured risk factors for kidney cancer and reproductive characteristics in a group of 37,440 postmenopausal women in Iowa. From 1986 to 2003, 165 cases of incident kidney cancer were identified through a statewide cancer registry. Results: After adjustment for age and other risk factors, past use of estrogen showed an increased risk of renal cancer (RR 1.56; 95% CI 1.13-2.17) when compared to no use. Women with no live birth (RR 1.91, p = 0.02) and women with three to four live births (RR 1.62, p = 0.02) also had an increased risk of kidney cancer when compared with women who had one to two live births. There was also a lower risk of kidney cancer with greater lifetime duration of ovulation. Conclusion: Although most reproductive variables were not significantly associated with kidney cancer, our study indicates that a greater exposure to estrogens may increase risk for kidney cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-163
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 20 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was supported by National Cancer Institute grant number: R01 CA39742.


  • Age at menopause
  • Kidney cancer
  • Postmenopausal women
  • Prospective study
  • Reproductive factors


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