BACKGROUND: In some rare inherited disorders such as Li-Fraumeni syndrome, relatives of children with cancer are at increased risk of cancer. We aimed to assess relations between childhood cancer and sibling risk, and evaluate the influence of recessive conditions in cancer causation. METHODS: We did a population-based cohort study in the Nordic countries of 42277 siblings of 25605 children with cancer. Children with cancer were identified from records in the five Nordic cancer registries, and their siblings from nationwide population registries. Cancers in siblings were documented through record linkage with cancer registries and compared with national incidence rates. We also assessed cancer incidence in parents to identify familial cancer syndromes. FINDINGS: 284.2 cancers were expected in siblings, whereas 353 were diagnosed (standardised incidence ratio 1.24 95% CI 1.12-1.38). Risk ratios for siblings were highest in the first decade of life (2.59, 1.89-3.46). We excluded 56 families with genetic syndromes linked to cancer, which reduced this ratio from 1.7 to 1.0 (0.7-1.3) for siblings younger than 20 years, and from 1.3 to 1.0 (0.8-1.3) for those aged 20-29 years. We found no new patterns of familial cancer that indicated inherited susceptibility, or evidence that recessive conditions might contribute to cancers not explained by syndromes. 40% of cancers in siblings that occurred before age 20 years could be attributed to known genetic factors, whereas 60% remained unexplained. INTERPRETATION: Apart from rare cancer syndromes, paediatric cancer is not an indicator of increased cancer risk in siblings.
The theory that cancer may arise under conditions of reduced immune capacity is supported by observations of humans with immune deficiencies such as occur following organ transplants. However, no study on humans has been done in which the reference population was the same as that in which the cancer cases arose and in which there was a sufficiently long period of follow-up. Information on 5,692 Nordic recipients of renal transplants in 1964-1982 was linked with the national cancer registries (1964-1986) and population registries. Person-years at risk were calculated from the date of first transplantation until death or the end of the study period and were multiplied by the appropriate age- and calender-specific incidence rates to obtain the expected numbers of cancers. Standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated after stratification by a number of recorded variables. Altogether, 32,392 person-years were accrued, and 471 cancers occurred, yielding overall SIR of 4.6 (95% CI, 4.0 to 5.2) for males and 4.5 (95% CI, 4.0 to 5.2) for females. Significant overall 2- to 5-fold excess risks in both sexes were seen for cancers of the colon, larynx, lung and bladder, and in men also for cancers of the prostate and testis. Notably high risks, 10-fold to 30-fold above expectation, were associated with cancers of the lip, skin (non-melanoma), kidney and endocrine glands, also with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and in women also with cancers of the cervix and vulva-vagina. Among a number of donor and recipient variables studied, including tissue types and compatibility (ABO, HLA, DR), age below 45 years at the time of transplantation was the most important determinant for increased risk at most sites. Kidney transplantation increases the risk of cancer in the short and in the long term, consistent with the theory that an impaired immune system allows carcinogenic factors to act. The tumor risk is small in comparison with the benefits of transplants, but patients should be followed up for signs of cancer.
Comment In: Int J Cancer. 2002 Mar 10;98(2):316-911857425
PURPOSE: To assess the risk of death in patients who survive more than 5 years after diagnosis of childhood cancer and to evaluate causes of death in fatal cases. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This was a population-based study in the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) using data of the nationwide cancer registries and the cause-of-death registries. The study cohort included 13,711 patients who were diagnosed with cancer before the age of 20 years between 1960 and 1989 and who survived at least 5 years from diagnosis. By December 31, 1995, 1,422 patients had died, and death certificates were assessed in 1,402. Standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) for validated causes of death were calculated based on 156,046 patient-years at risk. RESULTS: The overall SMR was 10.8 (95% confidence interval [CI], 10.3 to 11.5), mainly due to high excess mortality from the primary cancer. SMR for second cancer was 4.9 (95% CI, 3.9 to 5.9) and was 3.1 (95% CI, 2.8 to 3.5) for noncancer death. The pattern of causes of death varied markedly between different groups of primary cancer diagnoses and was highly dependent on time passed since diagnosis. Overall late mortality was significantly lower in patients treated during the most recent period of time, 1980 to 1989, compared with those treated from 1960 to 1979 (hazard ratio, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.54 to 0.70), and there was no increase in rates of death due to cancer treatment. CONCLUSION: Long-term survivors of childhood cancer had an increased mortality rate, mainly dying from primary cancers. However, modern treatments have reduced late cancer mortality without increasing the rate of therapy-related deaths.
BACKGROUND: A lowering of colorectal cancer risk for the birth cohorts born around World War II (WWII) has previously been observed in Norway, a country which suffered some 20% caloric restriction during the war. The purpose of the study was to conduct a similar kind of analysis in the other Nordic countries and Estonia, which were also subjected to various degrees of energy restriction during WWII.METHODS: All new cases of colorectal cancer in the Nordic countries and Estonia diagnosed between 40 and 84 years of age and born between 1874 and 1953, were collected from the national cancer registries. The incidence data were fitted to an age-period-cohort model.RESULTS: A transient drop in the estimated colorectal cancer incidence rate was observed for the birth cohorts born around WWII in Estonia, together with a tendency of decreased risk in Sweden and Denmark.CONCLUSION: The previously observed lowering of colorectal cancer risk for persons born during WWII in Norway also prevails in Estonia. Energy restriction is a possible explanation for these findings, since the countries suffered from varying nutritional conditions during the war. Exogenous factors acting during periods early in life may have an impact on later colorectal cancer risk.
The incidence of ovarian cancer and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL) between 1971 and 1985 or 1987 has been studied on the basis of cancer registry data among women employed in hairdressing or related occupations at 1970 census in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Overall, the standardized incidence ratio (SIR) for ovarian cancer was 1.18 (95% confidence interval, 0.98 to 1.40). The increase was present among hairdressers from Denmark (SIR, 1.23) and Finland (SIR, 1.88); whereas hairdressers from Sweden and Norway had an incidence close to expectation (SIR 0.95 and 0.96, respectively). In three of the four countries, the SIR was higher in 1971 to 1975 than in later years. The SIR for NHL was 1.20 (0.84 to 1.66); an excess was seen in Denmark (SIR, 1.92) and a decrease was found in Sweden (SIR, 0.63). In previous studies, hairdressers have been reported to be at increased risk of ovarian cancer: this study adds some evidence in favor of the presence of an association. This study also offers some support to the hypothesis of an association between exposure to hair dyes and risk of NHL, that was reported among personal users from the United States. This study, however, strongly suggests that occupational cancer risk among female hairdressers depends on temporal and geographical factors.
INTRODUCTION: Data on the survival of all incident cases collected by population-based cancer registries make it possible to evaluate the overall performance of diagnostic and therapeutic actions on cancer in those populations. EUROCARE-3 is the third round of the EUROCARE project, the largest cancer registry population based collaborative study on survival in European cancer patients. The EUROCARE-3 study analysed the survival of cancer patients diagnosed from 1990 to 1994 and followed-up to 1999. Sixty-seven cancer registries of 22 European countries characterised by differing health systems participated in the study. This paper includes essays providing brief overviews of the state and evolution of the health systems of the considered countries and comments on the relation between cancer survival in Europe and some European macro-economic and health system indicators, in the 1990s. OVERVIEW OF THE EUROPEAN HEALTH SYSTEMS: The European health systems underwent a great deal of reorganisation in the last decade; a general tendency being to facilitate expanding involvement of the private sector in health care, a process which occurred mainly in the eastern countries (i.e. the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia). In contrast, organisational changes in the northern European countries (i.e. Denmark, Iceland, Finland and Sweden) tended to confirm the established public sector systems. Other countries, including the UK and some southern European countries (i.e. England, Scotland, Wales, Malta and Italy) have reduced the public role while the systems remain basically public, at least at present. Our findings clearly suggest that cancer survival (all cancer combined) is related to macro-economic variables such as the gross domestic product (GDP), the total national (public and private) expenditure on health (TNEH) and the total public expenditure on health (TPEH). We found, however, that survival is related to wealth (GDP), but only up to a certain level, after which survival continues to be related to the level of health investment (both TNEH and TPEH). According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the TNEH increased during the 1990s in all EUROCARE-3 countries, while the ratio of TPEH to TNEH reduced in all countries except Portugal. CONCLUSIONS: Cancer survival depends on the widespread application of effective diagnosis and treatment modalities, but our enquiry suggests that the availability of these depends on macro-economic determinants, including health and public health investment. Analysis of the relationship between health system organisation and cancer outcome is complicated and requires more information than is at present available. To describe cancer and cancer management in Europe, the European Cancer Health Indicator Project (EUROCHIP) has proposed a list of indicators that have to be adopted to evaluate the effects on outcome of proposed health system modifications.