Effect of family history of cancers and environmental factors on risk of nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Guangdong, China

Cancer Epidemiol. 2010 Aug;34(4):419-24. doi: 10.1016/j.canep.2010.04.011. Epub 2010 May 12.


Background: Family history of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is an established risk factor for this cancer, but the contributions of family history of other types of cancer and its interaction with environmental factors have not been well characterized.

Methods: A total of 1845 incident cases of NPC and 2275 matched controls from Guangdong, China were included in this study. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated from logistic regression models adjusted for smoking, consumption of alcohol, salted fish consumption, and demographic factors.

Results: A significant association between the risk of NPC and family history of any cancers in first degree relatives was observed, and higher number of affected family member was related to a higher risk (P(trend)<0.01). Family history of NPC was the strongest predictor for NPC (OR: 3.35, 95% CI: 2.46-4.55 for all first degree relatives). The risk of NPC was also positively associated with history of head and neck cancer among parents and lung and breast cancers among siblings. The combination of family history of cancer, especially NPC, and the consumption of salt-preserved fish significantly increased the risk for NPC.

Conclusions: These results confirm that the risk for NPC increases with family history of NPC and suggest that lung and breast cancer contribute to risk for NPC. A possible interaction between family history of cancer, especially NPC, and consumption of salt-preserved fish in the development of NPC was also identified.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Diet
  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Food Preservation
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Nasopharyngeal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate
  • Young Adult