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APMIS. 1992 Oct;100(10):930-41.

Tumours in Iceland. 16. Malignant tumours of the stomach. Histological classification and description of epidemiological changes in a high-risk population during 30 years.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Iceland, Reykjavík.


Iceland is one of the high-risk countries for stomach cancer. During the period 1955-84 the incidence declined from 76 to 28 per 10(5) p.a. for males and from 30 to 12 for females. Tissue material from the primary site in 978 males and 448 females was available for histological typing. By the WHO classification tubular carcinoma was most frequent in both sexes, 66% in males and 63% in females, and signet-ring carcinoma second, 13% in males and 16% in females. By the Laurén classification in males 78.1% were intestinal and 16.5% diffuse carcinomas, and in females 73.1% were intestinal and 20.7% diffuse carcinomas. The decline in stomach cancer in Icelanders has mostly affected the intestinal type of tumour (Laurén) and the tubular type of tumour (WHO). Diffuse type tumours (Laurén) have declined slightly. This supports the theory that intestinal carcinomas are more influenced by environmental and especially dietary factors, and that diffuse carcinomas are more influenced by other as yet unknown factors. For epidemiological studies both histological classifications have their value, the WHO especially in that it is based on standard histopathological criteria and the Laurén especially in that it only includes two tumour types. The WHO classification can roughly be transcribed to the Laurén classification as tubular, mucinous and papillary carcinomas fall into the group of intestinal tumours, and signet-ring and more than half of undifferentiated carcinomas into the group of diffuse tumours.

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