Segregation analysis of esophageal cancer in 221 high-risk chinese families

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Background: Until recently, environmental factors were considered of greatest importance in the etiology of esophageal cancer. Recent studies, however, have suggested that genetic factors also have a role. Purpose: Since no formal genetic study of this cancer has been previously reported, we carried out a statistical analysis to determine how important genetic factors are in the etiology of esophageal cancer in high-incidence areas of North China. Methods: Using a logistic regressive model, we performed a segregation analysis on 221 high-risk nuclear families from the Yaocun Commune, Linxian, Henan Province of China, with at least one affected family member and with all offspring aged 40 years or older. Three models, the mendelian, the environmental, and the no-transmission models, were each compared with the general-transmission model that incorporated both genetic and environmental factors. Results: According to Akaike's Information Criterion, the mendelian model provided the best fit for the data. By the chi-square test, the mendelian inheritance model was not rejected, but the environmental and the no-transmission models were both rejected. Conclusion: The segregation analysis indicated an autosomal recessive mendelian inheritance, with the alleged mendelian gene present at a frequency of 19%, causing 4% of this population to be predisposed to develop esophageal cancer. Large, unmeasured, residual familial factors, however, were also significant. Implications: Both an autosomal recessive gene and unexplained environmental factors appear to be important in the etiology of esophageal cancer in the subpopulation studied. [J Natl Cancer Inst 84: 771-776, 1992] © 1992 Oxford University Press.

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