Investigation of spatio-temporal cancer clusters using residential histories in a case-control study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States

Rikke Baastrup Nordsborg, Chantel D. Sloan, Haseeb Shahid, Geoffrey M. Jacquez, Anneclaire J. De Roos, James R. Cerhan, Wendy Cozen, Richard Severson, Mary H. Ward, Lindsay Morton, Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Jaymie R. Meliker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is an enigmatic disease with few known risk factors. Spatio-temporal epidemiologic analyses have the potential to reveal patterns that may give clues to new risk factors worthy of investigation. We sought to investigate clusters of NHL through space and time based on life course residential histories. Methods: We used residential histories from a population-based NHL case-control study of 1300 cases and 1044 controls with recruitment centers in Iowa, Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles, and diagnosed in 1998-2000. Novel methods for cluster detection allowing for residential mobility, called Q-statistics, were used to quantify nearest neighbor relationships through space and time over the life course to identify cancer clusters. Analyses were performed on all cases together and on two subgroups of NHL: Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. These more homogenous subgroups of cases might have a more common etiology that could potentially be detected in cluster analysis. Based on simulation studies designed to help account for multiple testing across space and through time, we required at least four significant cases nearby one another to declare a region a potential cluster, along with confirmatory analyses using spatial-only scanning windows (SaTScan). Results: Evidence of a small cluster in southeastern Oakland County, MI was suggested using residences 10-18 years prior to diagnosis, and confirmed by SaTScan in a time-slice analysis 20 years prior to diagnosis, when all cases were included in the analysis. Consistent evidence of clusters was not seen in the two histologic subgroups. Conclusions: Suggestive evidence of a small space-time cluster in southeastern Oakland County, MI was detected in this NHL case-control study in the USA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number48
JournalEnvironmental Health: A Global Access Science Source
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 5 2015


  • Cancer
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Q-statistics
  • Residential histories
  • Spatio-temporal cluster analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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