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Cross-space-time clustering of childhood cancer in Great Britain: evidence for a common aetiology

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard McNallyORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Previously we identified space-time clustering in certain childhood cancers. The present study aimed to determine whether there was cross-space-time clustering between different diagnostic groups. A total of 32,295 cases were diagnosed during 1969-1993. Cross-space-time clustering was analysed by a second-order procedure based on Diggle's method. Locations were birth and diagnosis addresses. The following space-time combinations were examined: address and date of birth; address at birth and date of diagnosis; address and date of diagnosis. Cross-space-time clustering analyses considered clustering pairs of cases from two different diagnostic groups. Formal statistical significance was taken as P < 0.00067 and marginal significance 0.01 > P ≥ 0.00067. Based on address at birth and date of diagnosis there was statistically significant cross-clustering between cases of HL and intracranial and intraspinal embryonal tumours (IIET), both aged 0-14 years (P < 0.0001). Based on address and date of birth there was marginally significant cross-clustering between cases of lymphoid leukaemia (LL) aged 5-14 years and Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) aged 0-14 years (P = 0.0019). Based on address and date of diagnosis there was marginally significant cross-clustering between cases of LL aged 1-4 years and soft tissue sarcoma (STS) aged 0-14 years (P = 0.0041). Findings from this study are consistent with possible common aetiological factors between different diagnostic groups. They suggest a common aetiology for the following pairs of diagnostic groups: HL and IIET; older cases of LL and HL; younger cases of LL and soft tissue sarcoma. The possibility of common infectious mechanisms should be explored.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McNally RJ, Stiller C, Vincent TJ, Murphy MF

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Cancer

Year: 2014

Volume: 134

Issue: 1

Pages: 136-143

Print publication date: 01/01/2014

Online publication date: 19/07/2013

Acceptance date: 28/05/2013

Date deposited: 25/11/2013

ISSN (print): 0020-7136

ISSN (electronic): 1097-0215

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


DOI: 10.1002/ijc.28332

PubMed id: 23775892


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