Genetic Epidemiology--science and ethics on familial cancers

Acta Oncol. 2001;40(4):439-44. doi: 10.1080/onc.40.4.439.444.


Genetic epidemiology provides data on cancer etiology, familial risks and genotype-specific risks. These data are useful for clinical counselling and gene identification. The studies require large, unbiased sample sizes and collaboration between research teams, nationally and internationally. A recent study on Nordic twins suggests that in colorectal, breast and prostate cancer, the inherited component ranges between 27 and 42%, far in excess of the known susceptibility genes. The data from the Swedish Family-Cancer Database, particularly on second cancers, also suggest that a main genetic component in cancer is polygenic. The results have implications for design of genetic studies and for clinical counselling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cocarcinogenesis
  • Databases, Factual
  • Environment
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / genetics
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / epidemiology
  • Neoplastic Syndromes, Hereditary / genetics
  • Nuclear Family
  • Parents
  • Registries
  • Risk
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries / epidemiology
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Twin Studies as Topic