Kidney cancer mortality in Spain: geographic patterns and possible hypotheses.BMC Cancer 2008; 8:293BC
Since the second half of the 1990s, kidney cancer mortality has tended to stabilize and decline in many European countries, due to the decrease in the prevalence of smokers. Nevertheless, incidence of kidney cancer is rising across the sexes in some of these countries, a trend which may possibly reflect the fact that improvements in diagnostic techniques are being outweighed by the increased prevalence of some of this tumor's risk factors. This study sought to: examine the geographic pattern of kidney cancer mortality in Spain; suggest possible hypotheses that would help explain these patterns; and enhance existing knowledge about the large proportion of kidney tumors whose cause remains unknown.
Smoothed municipal relative risks (RRs) for kidney cancer mortality were calculated in men and women, using the conditional autoregressive model proposed by Besag, York and Molliè. Maps were plotted depicting smoothed relative risk estimates, and the distribution of the posterior probability of RR>1 by sex.
Municipal maps displayed a marked geographic pattern, with excess mortality in both sexes, mainly in towns along the Bay of Biscay, including areas of Asturias, the Basque Country and, to a lesser extent, Cantabria. Among women, the geographic pattern was strikingly singular, not in evidence for any other tumors, and marked by excess risk in towns situated in the Salamanca area and Extremaduran Autonomous Region. This difference would lead one to postulate the existence of different exposures of environmental origin in the various regions.
The reasons for this pattern of distribution are not clear, and it would thus be of interest if the effect of industrial emissions on this disease could be studied. The excess mortality observed among women in towns situated in areas with a high degree of natural radiation could reflect the influence of exposures which derive from the geologic composition of the terrain and then become manifest through the agency of drinking water.