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Eur J Epidemiol. 2006;21(2):139-44.

Space-time clustering analyses of testicular cancer amongst 15-24-year-olds in Northern England.

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School of Clinical Medical Sciences (Child Health), University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.


There has been speculation that environmental exposures may be involved in the aetiology of testicular cancer in adolescent boys and young men. Indirect evidence for this hypothesis would be provided by the finding of space-time clustering. To examine this we have looked for evidence of space-time clustering using data from a population-based cancer registry from Northern England. All cases of testicular cancer diagnosed in males aged 15-24 years during the period 1968-2002 were included in the study. Tests for space-time interactions between cases were applied with fixed thresholds of close in space and close in time. Addresses at birth and diagnosis were used in the analyses. To adjust for the effect of varying population density tests were repeated replacing fixed geographical distances with nearest neighbour thresholds. A total of 257 cases of testicular cancer were identified for analysis. Overall there was no evidence for space-time clustering. However, there was statistically significant space-time clustering for 15-19-year-old based on time of birth and place of diagnosis (p<0.001). The very limited finding of space-time clustering may provide tentative evidence for an environmental, or infectious component to aetiology. However, it may well be a chance finding. A larger study based on national data is required.

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