Cancer risk in fathers and brothers of testicular cancer patients in Denmark. A population-based study

Int J Cancer. 1996 May 29;66(5):627-31. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0215(19960529)66:5<627::AID-IJC8>3.0.CO;2-V.


There are several reports of familial testicular cancer in the literature but few systematic attempts have been made to estimate the risk of testicular cancer in first-degree relatives of patients with this neoplasm, and the risk remains to be fully assessed in population-based studies. By means of data from the Danish Cancer Registry, we identified all testicular cancer patients (index cases) born and diagnosed during 1950-1993 in Denmark. Their fathers were identified from national registries, as were the brothers of a subcohort of these patients. Familial cancer occurrence was determined through linkage with the cancer registry and compared with the cancer incidence in the general male population in Denmark. The ratio of observed to expected cancers generated the measure used for the relative risk. Fathers of 2,113 index cases with testicular cancer experienced an almost 2-fold risk of developing testicular cancer themselves (RR = 1.96; 95% CI: 1.01-3.43). Overall, the fathers had a decreased relative cancer risk (RR = 0.84; 95% CI: 0.74-0.95) with a significantly decreased risk of cancers of the lung and digestive organs. Brothers of a subcohort of 702 index cases showed a markedly increased risk of testicular cancer (RR = 12.3; 95% CI: 3.3-3 1.5). In conclusion, we documented a significantly increased familial risk of testicular cancer which was relatively more pronounced between brothers than between fathers and sons. These findings support the possible involvement of a genetic component in the aetiology of testicular cancer, but also leave room for a hypothesized influence of in-utero exposures, such as specific maternal hormone levels, that might be shared by brothers.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Family Health
  • Fathers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Testicular Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / pathology