Space-time clustering of glioma cannot be attributed to specific histological subgroups.
Houben MP., Coebergh JW., Birch JM., Tijssen CC., van Duijn CM., McNally RJ.
We previously showed that infectious exposures may be involved in the aetiology of adult glioma, by analysing for space-time clustering using population-based data from the South of the Netherlands. Here we extended these analyses and describe in detail the space-time clustering patterns in glioma subgroups, gender and age-categories. Knox tests for space-time interactions between cases were applied with fixed thresholds of close in space, <5 km, and close in time, <1 year apart. We used the spatial coordinates of the addresses at diagnosis in the analyses. Tests were repeated replacing geographical distance with distance to the Nth nearest neighbour. N was chosen such that the mean distance was 5 km. Data were also analysed by a second order procedure based on K-functions. There was only statistically significant space-time clustering for oligodendroglioma. Clustering was present for adults aged 30-54 years and was more pronounced among males. Given the low prior probability of an infectious aetiology for this specific subgroup, these results should probably be interpreted as false-positive. We conclude that space-time clustering of glioma cannot be attributed to a specific glioma subgroup. The observed clustering in our previous study is therefore probably an overall effect within and between glioma subgroups.