Family History of Cancer and Head and Neck Cancer Risk in a Chinese Population


Background: The aim of this study was to investigate whether family history of cancer is associated with head and neck cancer risk in a Chinese population. Materials and
Methods: This case-control study included 921 cases and 806 controls. Recruitment was from December 2010 to January 2015 in eight centers in East Asia. Controls were matched to cases with reference to sex, 5-year age group, ethnicity, and residence area at each of the centers.
Results: We observed an increased risk of head and neck cancer due to first degree family history of head and neck cancer, but after adjustment for tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking and betel quid chewing the association was no longer apparent. The adjusted OR were 1.10 (95% CI=0.80-1.50) for family history of tobacco-related cancer and 0.96 (95%CI=0.75-1.24) for family history of any cancer with adjustment for tobacco, betel quid and alcohol habits. The ORs for having a first-degree relative with HNC were higher in all tobacco/ alcohol subgroups.
Conclusions: We did not observe a strong association between family history of head and neck cancer and head and neck cancer risk after taking into account lifestyle factors. Our study suggests that an increased risk due to family history of head and neck cancer may be due to shared risk factors. Further studies may be needed to assess the lifestyle factors of the relatives.