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Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2012 Feb;5(2):150-63. doi: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0447.

A review of cancer in U.S. Hispanic populations.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90033, USA.


There are compelling reasons to conduct studies of cancer in Hispanics, the fastest growing major demographic group in the United States (from 15% to 30% of the U.S. population by 2050). The genetically admixed Hispanic population coupled with secular trends in environmental exposures and lifestyle/behavioral practices that are associated with immigration and acculturation offer opportunities for elucidating the effects of genetics, environment, and lifestyle on cancer risk and identifying novel risk factors. For example, traditional breast cancer risk factors explain less of the breast cancer risk in Hispanics than in non-Hispanic whites (NHW), and there is a substantially greater proportion of never-smokers with lung cancer in Hispanics than in NHW. Hispanics have higher incidence rates for cancers of the cervix, stomach, liver, and gall bladder than NHW. With respect to these cancers, there are intriguing patterns that warrant study (e.g., depending on country of origin, the five-fold difference in gastric cancer rates for Hispanic men but not Hispanic women). Also, despite a substantially higher incidence rate and increasing secular trend for liver cancer in Hispanics, there have been no studies of Hispanics reported to date. We review the literature and discuss study design options and features that should be considered in future studies.

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