Space-time clustering patterns in childhood solid tumours other than central nervous system tumours

Authors

  • Richard J.Q. McNally,

    Corresponding author
    1. Cancer Research UK Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
    • Cancer Research UK Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Stancliffe, Royal Manchester Children's Hospital, Hospital Road, Manchester M27 4HA, UK
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    • Fax: +44-161-727-2508

  • Anna M. Kelsey,

    1. Department of Histopathology, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Osborn B. Eden,

    1. Academic Unit of Paediatric Oncology, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust and Christie Hospital Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Freda E. Alexander,

    1. Department of Public Health Sciences, The University of Edinburgh Medical School, Teviot Place, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
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  • Donal P. Cairns,

    1. Cancer Research UK Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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  • Jillian M. Birch

    1. Cancer Research UK Paediatric and Familial Cancer Research Group, Central Manchester and Manchester Children's University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, United Kingdom
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Abstract

The aetiology of most childhood solid tumours (other than central nervous system [CNS] tumours) is unclear. To investigate whether certain environmental exposures may be involved, we have analysed for space-time clustering using population-based data from North West England for the period 1954–98. Knox tests for space-time interactions between cases were applied with fixed thresholds of close in space, <5 km, and close in time, <1 year apart. Addresses at birth and at diagnosis were used. Tests were repeated replacing geographical distance with distance to the Nth nearest neighbour. N was chosen such that the mean distance was 5 km. Data were also examined by a second order procedure based on K-functions. There was significant evidence of space-time clustering for Wilms' tumours (p = 0.03 and 0.04, using the geographical distance and nearest neighbour versions of the Knox test; and p = 0.07 and 0.03, using the geographical distance and nearest neighbour versions of the K-function method), and soft tissue sarcomas (p = 0.01, using both the geographical distance and nearest neighbour versions of the Knox test; and p = 0.001 and 0.002, using the geographical distance and nearest neighbour versions of the K-function method) based on time and location at birth, but not time and location at diagnosis. There was little or no evidence of space-time clustering amongst other diagnostic groups. These are the first results to demonstrate space-time clustering for childhood Wilms' tumours and soft tissue sarcomas. The results are consistent with environmental exposure hypotheses, relating to locations pre-natally or peri-natally. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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