E-Cigarette Use May Up Bladder Cancer Risk

The researchers believe that based on their findings, e-cigarette smokers may be at increased risk for bladder cancer.

At the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA), researchers presented findings from two studies that found harmful associations between e-cigarettes and the risk of bladder cancer, and another study which identified a link between the intensity of smoking traditional cigarettes with a higher mortality risk among bladder cancer patients.

Traditional cigarette smoking has been clearly established as a cause for bladder cancer but there is limited data on the risk associated with e-cigarette use. Moreover, there is inadequate literature evaluating whether the amount of traditional cigarettes smoked per day by a bladder cancer patient has an effect on mortality risk.

To understand the impact smoking intensity has on mortality risk, researchers compared survival rates for >14,000 adult smokers with bladder cancer residing in Florida between 1981–2009. The patients’ median and 5-year overall survival rates were compared between those who smoked <1 pack daily, 1–2 packs daily, and >2 packs daily. The findings showed smoking more packs daily was tied to a higher risk of mortality among patients with bladder cancer. The patients who smoked at least 1–2 packs daily had a significantly higher risk of mortality vs. patients who smoked <1 pack daily. “Even a small reduction in the amount of smoking a patient makes may potentially allow them to survive longer with bladder cancer,” the authors noted.  

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In a second study, researchers compared the urine of non-smokers and e-cigarette users for known bladder carcinogens; study participants were mostly male with an average age of 39 years.  The urine samples were evaluated for five carcinogens that are typically found in traditional cigarettes or in common solvents believed to be used in some e-cigarette liquids. Among the e-cigarette users, 92% tested positive for two of the five carcinogens.  In addition, a third study found that e-cigarette smoke induced tumorigenic DNA damage in bladder mucosa. 

The researchers believe that based on these findings, e-cigarette smokers may be at increased risk for bladder cancer. 

Session moderator, Sam S. Chang, MD, MBA, from Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center, added, “This research underscores the importance of smoking cessation (of both traditional and e-cigarettes) for people with bladder cancer, and people looking to avoid it.”

For more information visit AUAnet.org.