How does teenage and young adult cancer treatment affect the risk of kidney disease?

Dr Nicola Hughes, University of Leeds

In recent years, the development of new treatments has improved the survival of teenagers and young adults with cancer. However, these treatments can also cause kidney damage. This can be permanent, leading to multiple long-term health problems like chronic kidney disease, heart disease and kidney failure. Kidney damage can also have a negative effect on cancer treatment.

Teenagers and young adults get types of cancers at an early stage in life that require specific treatments and are different to cancers seen in younger children and older adults. Recent work indicates one in three teenagers and young adults with cancer will have some amount of kidney damage.

Kidney disease is well understood in people without cancer. However, this understanding is not relevant to teenagers and young adult cancer patients because of the differences in their bodies before, during and after cancer treatment. We know many of the risks to teenagers and young adults’ kidneys, but it is not clear when kidney damage actually occurs, how it can be best identified, or how it changes over time.

Dr Nicola Hughes and her team at the University of Leeds hope to find out more about the risk of kidney damage so that they can develop guidance and resources to help. The researchers will analyse NHS cancer patient data to:

  • Understand the risk and amount of kidney disease in teenagers and young adult cancer patients, and whether this has changed over time along with changes in NHS practice.
  • Define the factors which influence a teenagers and young adult survivor’s risk of developing kidney problems, such as treatments given or tumour location.
  • Find when is best to monitor those at risk so that any problems can be caught earlier, but without too many unnecessary monitoring tests.
  • Create an educational resource for teenagers and young adult cancer survivors at risk of kidney disease, so that they can make informed treatment decisions and take control of their future health, such as through diet and exercise.

Project details

Project title: Teenage and Young Adult cancer treatment and the risk of kidney disease
Lead investigator: Dr Nicola Hughes, University of Leeds
Award: £29,466.69

Funded by TYAC
Awarded July 2022