Barbecued meat can cause kidney cancer, say US researchers

'Our findings support reducing consumption of meat'

Eating barbecued meat increases the risk of kidney cancer, scientists have warned.

Research conducted by the University of Texas found flame-grilling red meat produced carcinogens which the kidney must work hard to get rid of.

Dr Xifeng Wu, professor of epidemiology and senior author of the study, said: "We found elevated cancer risk associated with both meat intake and meat-cooking carcinogens, suggesting independent effect of meat-cooking carcingens on RCC [renal cancer carcinoma] risk.

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The kidneys filter toxic chemicals from the body and may become cancerous from a diet high in carcinogenic chemicals

"Our findings support reducing consumption of meat, especially meat cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame as a public health intervention to reduce RCC risk and burden."

Renal cancer carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, sees malignant cells form in tubules of the kidney. Symptoms include blood in the urine or a lump in the abdomen, according to the National Cancer Institute.

The new research, which is published in the American Cancer Society journal, compared the diet of 659 patients with renal cell carcinoma to those of 699 healthy people. Aside from diet, genetic variants also played a role in people's susceptibility to the harmful effects of carcinogenic chemicals.

Obesity and high meat consumption in developed countries also worsened the issue, said Dr Ian Johnson of the Institute of Food Research.

"Renal cell carcinoma occurs more frequently in higher income countries than in less developed parts of the world, and so it seems probable that it is caused in part by a Western lifestyle," he said.

This link between barbecued meat and kidney cancer comes after the World Health Organisation and International Agency for Research on Cancer reported that red and processed meats are carcinogenic. 

People who ate the most processed meat - meat that has been cured, salted, smoked or preserved in some way, but not including mince - were found to be 17 per cent more likely to develop bowel cancer.

The discovery that heating some foods can releases bad chemicals echoes other evidence this week that heating vegetable oils also releases "toxic chemicals" linked to cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

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