Risk factors for the occurrence of undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type: a case-control study

Srp Arh Celok Lek. Jan-Feb 2010;138(1-2):6-10. doi: 10.2298/sarh1002006n.


Introduction: The incidence rate of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Serbia is less than one per 100,000 citizens, which classifies it as a region with low incidence for this disease.

Objective: The aim of this study was to test some hypotheses of the risk factors for undifferentiated carcinoma of nasopharyngeal type (UCNT) in the low incidence population.

Methods: A case-control study was used for the research. The study included 45 cases with histopathological diagnosis of UCNT and 90 controls. Cases and the controls were individually matched by sex, age (+/- 3 years), and place of residence (city-village). Data were gathered about sociodemographic characteristics, occupational exposure to harmful agents, habits, diet, personal history, and family history. In the analysis of the data, conditional univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were applied.

Results: According to the results of multivariate logistic regression analysis UCNT was significantly positively associated with "passive smoking" of tobacco in the family during childhood, frequent consumption of industrially manufactured food additives for enhancing flavour and frequent consumption of white bread. UCNT was significantly negatively associated with frequent consumption of margarine, olive oil and cornbread.

Conclusion: In our low incidence population, an independent risk factor for the occurrence of UCNT was "passive smoking" of tobacco in the family during childhood, use of industrially manufactured food with additives for enhancing flavour and consumption of white bread. Multicentric study enrolling a greater number of cases would be desirable.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carcinoma / etiology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Food Additives / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution / adverse effects


  • Food Additives
  • Tobacco Smoke Pollution