Association between weight cycling and risk of kidney cancer: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis of observational studies

Dong Hoon Lee, Na Na Keum, Leandro F.M. Rezende, Fred K. Tabung, Sung Eun Hong, Edward L. Giovannucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Weight cycling is common in populations. However, it is unclear whether frequency and magnitude of weight cycling is associated with kidney cancer risk, independent of body mass index (BMI). Methods: A prospective cohort study followed 85,562 participants from Health Professionals Follow-up Study and Nurses’ Health Study (1992–2014). At baseline, participants reported frequency and magnitude of intentional weight loss in the past 4 years. Cox proportional hazard model was used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI). We also conducted a meta-analysis of all available observational studies including our two cohorts. Results: During 22 years of follow-up, we identified 441 kidney cancer cases. Compared with non-weight cyclers (no attempt of intentional weight loss), severe cyclers (≥ 3 times of intentional weight loss of ≥ 4.5 kg) were at increased kidney cancer risk after adjusting for BMI before weight cycling (pooled multivariable-adjusted HR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.19, 2.66). Additional adjustment for attained BMI after weight cycling had minimal influence. There was a positive trend between weight cycling by frequency and magnitude and kidney cancer risk (P-trend = 0.01). Moreover, the observed positive association did not differ by subtypes of cyclers (e.g., adiposity status, weight-loss methods). In the meta-analysis, we found a strong positive association between weight cycling and kidney cancer risk (summary relative risk for weight cyclers vs. non-cyclers, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.16, 1.96; I2: 52.2%; 6 studies). Conclusion: Frequent substantial weight cycling was associated with increased risk of kidney cancer, independent of BMI. Our study suggests that weight cycling may be an important risk factor for kidney cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1038
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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