New York: Cancer patients are more likely to die from their disease if they have reduced kidney function, warns a new study, adding that the risk is most dramatic for patients having urinary tract cancers and breast cancer.
The research also found that the correlation between cancer mortality and kidney disease remained high even in patients with a mild to moderate reduction in kidney function - also known as early stage chronic kidney disease (CKD). Of 3,654 predominantly white individuals who were followed for the study, those who had CKD were found to be at least 1.3 times more likely to die from cancers that those
without CKD. The correlation was most dramatic among those CKD patients who had urinary tract cancers (2.5 fold increase in cancer deaths) and among women with breast cancer, who were almost twice as likely to die from their disease if they had CKD.
"People with chronic kidney disease are more likely to develop urinary tract cancers. But as for breast cancer, we suspect it could be a matter of under-treatment," said lead
researcher Germaine Wong from the University of Sydney in Australia. "For example, we already know that women with CKD are less likely to be screened for cancer as a whole. So, their cancers may be more advanced before they receive treatment,"
said Wong. Wong and her team will continue to validate their findings in other population cohorts while conducting a study to predict the benefits and costs of screening for cancers in CKD patients.
"Cancer in a patient with CKD is a bad prognosis. Hopefully we can work towards screening in patients with CKD so that prevention measures and monitoring can be initiated early and lives can be saved," said Wong. "Like cardiovascular disease, cancer is becoming a major cause of death in people with chronic kidney disease," said
Wong. "Sadly, intervention to improve outcomes in patients with CKD and cancer is limited and more work is needed to find out the reasons for the increased risk and the poor prognosis for CKD-cancer patients," said Wong.
Previous research by Wong and her team already established that patients with chronic kidney disease are at increased risk of developing cancer. The latest research shows that patients with CKD are also more likely to die from cancers when compared to patients with normal kidney function. "This research supports the National Kidney Foundation's recommendation to screen at-risk individuals for kidney disease," said Joseph Vassalotti from the US National Kidney Foundation.
"Early detection will ensure patients are aware of their condition and the increased risks that cancer and cardiovascular disease pose to those with CKD," said Vassalotti. The study was published in the Journal of Kidney Diseases.