Time trends and familial risks in squamous cell carcinoma of the skin

Kari Hemminki, Hong Zhang, Kamila Czene
Archives of Dermatology 2003, 139 (7): 885-9

OBJECTIVES: To study time trends and familial clustering of invasive and in situ squamous cell skin cancers (SCC), with particular reference to sun-exposed and covered sites of the body.

DESIGN: Epidemiologic follow-up study of the whole population.

SETTING: The Swedish Family-Cancer Database from the year 2000, to cover individuals born after 1931 with their biological parents, totaling 10.2 million persons.

PATIENTS: Cancer data were obtained from the Swedish Cancer Registry from 1961 through 1998 and included 1907 invasive SCCs in offspring and 12,702 and 7167 in fathers and mothers, respectively. The numbers of patients affected by in situ SCC were 2666, 13,739, and 13,321, respectively.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Standardized incidence ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for SCC in offspring when parents had SCC. Incidence rates were calculated for the population in the Database.

RESULTS: Incidence trends showed a large increase in reported cases of SCC and particularly of in situ SCC. Among invasive cases, the increase was largest among covered sites. A clear cohort effect was observed particularly for SCC on covered sites. Familial standardized incidence ratios for offspring combining invasive and in situ SCC were 2.25 (95% confidence interval, 1.93-2.59) for concordant exposed sites and 2.60 (95% confidence interval, 1.38-4.20) for concordant covered sites, suggesting no difference between the body parts within the present statistical power.

CONCLUSIONS: The higher increase in incidence on covered sites and the strong cohort effect suggest a contribution by intentional tanning. The observed equal increase in the familial effect on exposed and covered sites suggests that familial risk increases proportionately to the background rate.

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