Impact of Air Pollution on Urological Cancer

Document Type : Editorial


Student Research Committee, Faculty of Paramedical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Air pollution has been a common problem in recent decades across various parts of the globe. The air pollution impact on health outcomes, such as cardiovascular incidences and mortalities and lung and child cancers, has been widely investigated and recognized. However, the effect on urological cancers is less studied and still under controversy. The performed studies are mainly implemented in occupational environments, and there is a lack of knowledge in the general population. Moreover, few studies in the general population suffer from short follow-ups and a limited set of controlled confounders. Accordingly, future studies on the air pollution-urological cancers association need to overcome the follow-up and confounding inadequacies in the general population.


  • Air pollution impacts health outcomes such as cardiovascular incidences and mortalities.
  • The air pollution-urological cancers association needs to be evaluated through several studies.


Main Subjects

Editorial: The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study estimates 1.6 % of the deaths that occurred in 2019 to be caused by urological (including prostate, bladder, kidney, and testicular) cancers. On the other hand, GBD attributed 13.2 % of non-communicable deaths in 2019 to air pollution (1). The impact of air pollution on health outcomes such as cancers and cardiovascular incidence and mortality has been the topic of various studies (2, 3). However, the studied cancers mainly include lung (4), child (5), and breast (6). Despite outdoor air pollution being recognized as a human carcinogen (7), the increased risk of urological cancers due to outdoor air pollution has been reported in occupational studies (8, 9). Recently, some studies have been performed on urological cancers in the general population (10-12). Though, the significantly lower levels of air pollution in the general environments than the occupational ones have led to the scarcity of information on the air pollution-urological cancers association in the general population.

A recent systematic review of the air pollution impact on the bladder, kidney, and urinary tract indicates that most investigations report positive associations (though majorly non-significant) between air pollution and urological cancers (13). However, this review mentions not address the confounders as the common drawback of the studies. Almost half of the studies reviewed in this article have been cohort (9 out of 20), and the insufficient follow-up has been their shared shortcoming.

Conclusion: There is a need for studies with extensive follow-up periods while including a larger set of confounding variables.


Authors’ contributions

AKH wrote, reviewed, and edited the manuscript.



Special thanks to the Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Conflict of interest

There is no conflict of interest.



There is no funding


Ethical Statements

Not applicable


Data availability

Not applicable



GBD     Global Burden of Disease



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