(HealthDay News) — Cooking meats at high temperatures, as in barbecuing or pan-frying, may increase the risk for renal cell carcinoma (RCC), according to a study published online in Cancer.

Xifeng Wu, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the department of epidemiology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues collected information from 659 RCC patients and compared it with data from 699 cancer-free patients. A food questionnaire asked not only about meat intake, but also cooking methods and level of how thoroughly it was cooked.

The researchers found that the RCC patients ate more red and white meat than the others. They also ate more meat cooked at high temperatures or over an open flame — such as pan-fried, grilled, or barbecued. In particular, two chemical compounds caused by high-heat cooking seemed to raise RCC risk by more than 50%. Also, people with certain genetic mutations seemed more susceptible than others to the effects of these chemicals.

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“The intake of meat may increase the risk of RCC through mechanisms related to the cooking compounds 2-amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo(4,5-f) quinoxaline and 2-amino-1 methyl-6-phenyl-imidazo(4,5-b)pyridine. These associations may be modified by genetic susceptibility to RCC,” the authors write. “Further research is necessary to understand the biological mechanisms underlying these interactions.”


  1. Melkonian SC, Daniel CR, Ye Y, et al. Gene-environment interaction of genome-wide association study-identified susceptibility loci and meat-cooking mutagens in the etiology of renal cell carcinoma. Cancer; doi: 10.1002/cncr.29543.