Researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Centre (VAMC) in the US’s Louisiana State have found that there appears to be a link between Agent Orange and kidney cancer in US veterans exposed to the herbicide in Vietnam.

At a special news conference during the American Urological Association (AUA) annual meeting in Washington D.C on May 13, Dr. Anthony Y. Smith said, “we know that the chemicals in Agent Orange were extremely toxic, and are known to cause cancer.”

The VAMC researchers examined the records of 297 patients diagnosed with kidney cancer between 1987 and 2009. They reviewed these patients’ age at diagnosis, tumor size, side of lesion, pathology and survival.

The scientists found that 13 of the patients, aged 39 to 63 when they were diagnosed, said they had been exposed to Agent Orange. Documented exposure to the herbicide and pathology reports were available for 10 of the patients. Nine of them had clear-cell cancers and one had both clear-cell and papillary cancers.

During the average follow-up of 54 months, four patients developed metastatic cancer and one patient died from his cancer.

The VAMC researchers’ discovery should be viewed as preliminary because it has not been subjected to the peer review that typically accompanies publication in a medical journal.

Dr. Anthony Y. Smith added that his research team will work harder to better determine whether exposure to these chemicals should be considered a risk factor for kidney cancer.

Many years ago, the Institute of Medicine under the National Academy of Sciences confirmed a link between Agent Orange and many kinds of diseases, including Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Soft-tissue sarcoma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease./.