Testicular cancer: marked birth cohort effects on incidence and a decline in mortality in southern Netherlands since 1970

Int J Cancer. 2008 Feb 1;122(3):639-42. doi: 10.1002/ijc.23061.


The aim of our study was to interpret the changing incidence, and to describe the mortality of patients with testicular cancer in the south of the Netherlands between 1970 and 2004. On the basis of data from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry and Statistics Netherlands, 5-year moving average standardised incidence and mortality rates were calculated. An age-period-cohort (APC) Poisson regression analysis was performed to disentangle time and birth cohort effects on incidence. The incidence rate remained stable for all ages at about 3 per 100,000 person-years until 1989 but increased annually thereafter by 4% to 6 in 2004. This increase can almost completely be attributed to an increase in localised tumours. The largest increase was found for seminoma testicular cancer (TC) patients aged 35-39 and non-seminoma TC patients aged 20-24 years. Relatively more localised and tumours with lymph node metastases were detected in the later periods. APC analysis showed the best fit with an age-cohort model. An increase in incidence of TC was found for birth cohorts since 1950. The mortality rate dropped from 1.0 per 100,000 person-years in 1970 to 0.3 in 2005, with a steep annual decline of 12% in the period 1979-1986. In conclusion, the increase in incidence of TC was strongly correlated with birth cohorts since 1945. The increase in incidence is possibly caused by in utero or early life exposure to a yet unknown risk factor. There was a steep decline in mortality in the period 1979-1986.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Mortality / trends
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Seminoma / mortality*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Time Factors