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Cancer Causes Control. 1991 May;2(3):157-64.

Non-occupational risk factors for adult soft-tissue sarcoma in northern Italy.

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Epidemiology Unit, Aviano Cancer Center, Italy.


The role of socioeconomic and anthropometric indicators, tobacco, alcohol consumption, dietary habits, and medical history in the etiology of soft-tissue sarcoma (STS) was examined in a hospital-based case-control study, conducted in the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region of northeast Italy, between 1985 and 1990. A total of 88 STS cases (53 males and 35 females; median age: 52 years) and of 610 controls (306 males and 304 females; median age: 54 years) were interviewed. There were significant excess risks associated with a history of herpes zoster infection (odds ratio [OR] = 2.4, 95 percent confidence interval [CI] = 1.1-5.3), chicken pox (OR = 2.2, CI = 1.2-4.3) and mumps in childhood (OR = 2.0, CI = 1.1-3.9). History of diabetes was also linked to a nonsignificant increase in STS risk (OR = 1.8, CI = 0.6-5.4), whereas exposure to radiation for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes was not related to the probability of developing STS. None of the investigated socioeconomic and anthropometric indicators seemed to affect STS risk; neither did tobacco smoking, nor consumption of alcohol, coffee, and tea beverages. Conversely, among the dietary habits investigated, a significant positive association emerged with an increasing frequency of consumption of dairy products (chi 2 for trend = 6.8, P less than 0.01) and oil (chi 2 for trend = 4.3, P less than 0.05), while a negative association was seen for intake of whole grain bread and pasta (OR for highest cf lowest tertile = 0.4, CI = 0.2-0.9).

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