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Approved research

Lifestyle and genetic factors and bladder cancer risk

Principal Investigator: Dr Stella Koutros
Approved Research ID: 47618
Approval date: April 9th 2020

Lay summary

Bladder cancer is the 7th most common cancer worldwide, with an estimated 260,000 new cases diagnosed annually in men and 76,000 in women. Western Europe, North America and Australia have the highest incidence. Most tumors are non-invasive and treatable, but require ongoing monitoring as recurrence is relatively common; this makes bladder cancer the malignancy with the highest cost per patient from diagnosis to death (United States estimates). The strongest known risk factors for bladder cancer are cigarette smoking, occupational exposure to carcinogens (e.g. arylamines), and genetic susceptibility. However, other factors may also be playing an important role in bladder cancer risk, but have either not yet been assessed prospectively with sufficient statistical power or have had mixed conclusions, for varying reasons. The current research project aims to identify potential bladder cancer risk factors for which findings to date have been inconclusive. Over the next several months we propose to evaluate such risk factors including: reproductive and hormonal factors (including oral contraceptive use and hormone therapy use in women), modifiable lifestyle factors (i.e. smoking, NSAID use, diet, alcohol and other beverage consumption), employment history, personal history of diabetes, overweight and obesity, and genetic susceptibility. Our findings will potentially inform the public about factors that underlie bladder cancer etiology. They may also result in a better understanding of the influence of genetic susceptibility as well as the interplay of genetics and the environment on the burden of bladder cancer.