Cross-space-time clustering of childhood cancer in Great Britain: evidence for a common aetiology.
McNally RJQ., Stiller C., Vincent TJ., Murphy MFG.
Previously, we identified space-time clustering in certain childhood cancers. This 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 analyzed 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 tumors (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 leukemia (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 STS. The possibility of common infectious mechanisms should be explored.