Space-time clustering patterns of gliomas in The Netherlands suggest an infectious aetiology.
Houben MPWA., Coebergh JWW., Birch JM., Tijssen CC., van Duijn CM., McNally RJQ.
To test the hypothesis that infectious exposures may be involved in glioma aetiology, we have analysed space-time clustering and seasonal variation using population-based data from the South of The Netherlands between 1983 and 2001. Knox tests for space-time interactions between cases were applied, with spatial coordinates of the addresses at time of diagnosis, and with distance to the Nth nearest neighbour. Data were also analysed by a second order procedure based on K-functions. Tests for heterogeneity and Edwards' test for sinusoidal variation were applied to examine seasonal variation of incidence. There was statistically significant space-time clustering in the Eastern, but not in the Western part of the region. Clustering was only present in adults, particularly in less densely populated areas. There was no evidence for seasonal variation. The results support a role for infectious exposures in glioma aetiology that may act preferentially in certain geographical areas.