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Int J Cancer. 2003 Sep 1;106(3):423-8.

Cohort studies of association between self-reported allergic conditions, immune-related diagnoses and glioma and meningioma risk.

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Division of Epidemiology, Institute for Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.


An inverse association between self-reported allergies and glioma and meningioma risk, has been previously observed in case-control studies. Approximately 27% (median) of the information on both glioma and meningioma in these studies, however, is collected from proxy respondents. In fact, the odds ratios (OR) among previous brain tumor studies are inversely related to the proportion of proxy respondents (Pearson correlation coefficient = -0.94; 95% CI = -1.00 to -0.65); this correlation suggests bias. We therefore constructed 3 cohorts based on the Swedish Twin, Hospital Discharge, and Cancer Registries. In Cohorts I (14,535 people developed 37 gliomas and 41 meningiomas) and II (29,573 people developed 42 gliomas and 26 meningiomas) median time from self-report of allergies to brain tumor diagnosis was 15.4 years. Cohort III, which overlaps with Cohorts I and II (52,067 people developed 68 gliomas and 63 meningiomas), was linked to the Swedish Hospital Discharge Registry where pre-brain tumor immune-related discharge diagnoses were recorded. Allergies are inversely associated with glioma risk in Cohort I (Hazard ratio [HR] = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.19-1.07) and among high grade (III and IV, HR = 0.45; 95% CI = 0.11-1.92) but not low grade (I and II, HR = 2.60; 95% CI = 0.86-7.81) gliomas in Cohort II. In Cohort III, immune-related discharge diagnoses are also inversely associated with glioma (HR = 0.46; 95% CI = 0.14-1.49). There is no strong evidence against (and some for) the hypothesis that allergies reduce glioma risk.

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